STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The U.S. Department of Education has launched a probe into whether Penn State violated the Clery Act when it did not report child sexual abuse allegations to the proper authorities. Penn State officials received a letter on Wednesday officially notifying them of the investigation.
"If these allegations of sexual abuse are true, then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys," Duncan said in a statement. "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."
A grand jury report alleges that Penn State officials failed to notify police when a graduate assistant told football coach Joe Paterno in 2002 that football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was abusing a boy in a locker room shower, the Associated Press reports.
Sandusky is alleged to have sexually abused young boys from 1994 through 2009, reports AFP. He was arrested Nov. 5.
Paterno came under fire for failing to report the abuse to police, the New York Times reports. However, according to law enforcement officials, Paterno met legal obligations by alerting his superiors at the university after learning of the allegation.
Today Paterno said he would resign at the end of the football season, USA Today reports. In a statement, the coach said he was "devastated" by developments in the case against Sandusky, who is accused of abusing eight children over a period of 15 years.
Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business at Penn State, and Tim Curley, the athletic director, were charged with perjury and failure to report to authorities what they knew about the allegations.
Penn State President Graham Spanier will either resign or be voted out by the board of trustees by the end of today, the Express-Times reports. He did not contact police after hearing of the 2002 allegation, according to grand jury testimony. An interim president will be appointed until a search for a permanent replacement can begin.
In a statement, the school's board of trustees vowed to appoint a special committee to undertake a full and complete investigation of the circumstances that gave rise to the Grand Jury Report.