Key findings of the Freeh Report:
There exists a total and constant disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims. The Grand Jury observed that the leadership did not seek investigations into the matter nor identify the victim. The administration did not protect the victim or any other from similar conduct. They instead focused on ensuring the occurrence does not happen on the University property.
The most powerful leaders at the university concealed critical information that related to the Sundasky's child abuse from the authorities, the University's Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large. They lacked empathy for the for child abuse victims by most senior leaders at the university.
The board of trustees failed to appropriately exercise its oversight duties in 1998 and 2001 by their failure to ensure regular report procedures or committee structures are created to support disclosure to the board of significant risks to the University. The Board failed to reasonably inquire a case in 2011 by not demanding details from the president and the general counsel about the nature and direction of the Grand Jury investigation and the university response to the inquiry (Sporkin, 2012).
Key recommendations mentioned
The Penn State culture requires transformation to develop an honest and transparent culture that has strict values. The culture contributed to the commission of the offense and was responsible for the failure by the leadership to adequately respond and report the incidence.
The board should review policies to improve their oversight over the management to ensure public confidence and transparency is restored and develop strategies to guide management of incidences.
The organizational structure of the athletic department should be revised to adequately define the lines of authority, responsibility and reporting relationships. The athletic department should ensure the employees comply with University-wide training mandates.
The university should improve management of the programs for children and access to facilities. The administration should increase the physical security and access procedures in areas frequented by children or used in camps and programs for children.
Reaction to the recommendations:
The recommendations were focused on ensuring the management is responsible and proactive in the prevention of similar cases and that they have mechanisms to transparently address instances of such offenses. The improvement of culture to introduce values that are protective of transparency and honesty ensure that such cases are avoided and reported when they happen. The increase in physical security will provide the environment is supervised and offenses deflected by the presence of monitoring.
Most important recommendation:
The most critical recommendation relates to the programs for non-student minors and access to facilities. The physical security accorded to the minors is a significant move that will deter any form of offense to the children as there will be the presence of constant physical oversight. The increase of procedures to access the areas frequented by children will ensure any adult interacting with the minors are adequately vetted, and this reduces the risk to the minors.
Least important recommendation
The order of importance should start from the areas that are in direct contact with the minors and the top leadership with minimal interaction with the area as the last. The board of trustees operations and responsibilities are reviewed last as their input is mostly after such acts have happened hence they are the least important. The policies at this level are developed to maintain oversight while those at the lower levels address the issues directly.
Is there something that needs to be addressed that is not discussed here?
The medical and mental outcomes of such acts should be addressed to stress the adverse effects that are a result of such actions on the victims. The victims could contract diseases from such acts and in some cases conditions without the cure. Also, the mental state and future of this victims are affected.
In your opinion where does the responsibility for these crimes lie?
The responsibility lies with Jerry Sandusky for going against moral and professional values and exerting harm on a minor. The actions were immoral and inhumane as he inflicted emotional and physical damage to the child. Jerry was fully aware that the movements were involuntary and against the wishes of the minor and therefore, he harmed the minor intentionally.
Does anyone outside the position of Jerry Sandusky hold responsibility for what happened?
The responsibility lies with the top management, in this case, the president. The response to the case was not professional. The president should have investigated the incidence and identified the victim to ensure they are appropriately handled as the incidence had emotional and probably physical effects. The president's response was not humane as he totally disregarded the victims need and additionally failed to hold the perpetrator to account. The response still left the other minors at risk of the same incidence.
Did Joe Paterno have the responsibility to do more than he did?
The head football coach had a responsibility to report the incident and ensure the proper response to the situation is applied. He did not report, and therefore, he bears responsibility for not protecting the minors and concealing such an act. However, Sandusky bears the most significant responsibility as he committed the offense.
How does this relate to our course material?
The issues around child abuse and response of institutions to such cases is an important one as addressed in the above incident. The case highlights the need for transparency and honesty when dealing with such incidences as it involves vulnerable groups who need protection from perpetrators especially those in authority.
Your overall opinion on this case
The incidence experienced in this case is one that highlights the violation of human rights and mainly focuses on vulnerable groups in society in this case the minors being the victims. It is essential that this serves as a wakeup call and underscores the importance of policy and measures that protect children from sexual assault. The emotional harm inflicted on children after such acts can lead to mental health issues, and lifelong medical conditions to the victims and therefore eradication of such acts is paramount.
Was justice served?
The perpetrator was convicted of the offense but for justice to be served it would require that all found culpable are punished to atone for the effects the victims suffered as the managements acts of omission delayed justice for the victims. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Sporkin, F. (2012). Report of the Special Investigative Counsel regarding the Actions of The Pennslyvania State University Related to The Child Sexual Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky . Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP.
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