The U.S. Department of Education has announced that it will look into whether officials at Penn State University committed wrongdoing in their handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky, who years ago served as defensive coordinator under legendary head coach Joe Paterno, was charged last week with sexually abusing a number of young boys during his time at the university. It was later revealed that officials in the athletic department knew of at least one alleged incident in 2002 involving Sandusky sodomizing a 10-year-old boy inside a campus shower facility, but failed to report anything to the police.
Last night, Paterno, the legendary coach who won a pair of titles and helped grow Penn State football into a national powerhouse during his 46 years at the helm, was abruptly fired by the school’s board of trustees who are trying desperately to bury the scandal. In addition to Paterno, who is the all-time winningest coach in the history of major college football, school president Graham Spanier was fired, as well.
In a statement released Wednesday, the DOE said it will look into whether the university violated the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to annually disclose the number of on-campus criminal offenses that are reported. According to the statement, Department officials sent a letter to the university notifying it of the investigation.
“If these allegations of sexual abuse are true then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse. Schools and school officials have a legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from violence and abuse.”