Jul 20, 2012 06:56 AM EDT
Penn State Trustee Steve Garban Quits
Steve Garban, a long time influential member of the Pennsylvania Board of Trustees has resigned from his post Thursday, becoming the first member to do so in the wake of Louis Freeh report on Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse scandal.
He had served the board for 14 years including a brief time of chairmanship in 2010-11, when the scandal first became public.
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In his letter to the board chairwoman Karen Peetz he said his presence in the board had become "a distraction and an impediment" to its efforts to move forward.
"These past months have been some of the most painful of my life," Garban wrote. "After absorbing the findings of the Freeh Report last week, the Board of Trustees accepted responsibility for the failures of governance that took place on our watch. Following the release of the report, you also asked each member of the board to evaluate our individual paths forward."
Garban's decision to resign is being seen as his submission to the increasing pressures of the other trustees who claim that they had kept in the dark regarding the impending scandal. He was harshly criticized over his handling of crisis that surfaced after Sandusky's arrest.
The Louis Freeh report released July 14 claims that Garban was briefed about the developments in the Sandusky case but did not care to share what he knew with the entire board to provide them a chance to prepare for the worst.
The 267-page report also said that the trustees felt he was too close to the ousted President, Graham Spanier.
"Some trustees thought Garban's history of being previously employed at Penn State, where as (senior vice president) he reported directly to Spanier, hampered his ability to lead the board," the report said.
In April 2011, according to the report, Spanier informed Garban about a grand jury investigation of Sandusky. Graban, in turn, did not convey this to the board. Garban told investigators that Spanier downplayed the Sandusky probe, and he recalled his former boss saying, "It was the third or fourth grand jury and nothing would come of it," the report said.
But, a few trustees believe that trustees other than Garban mentioned in the report who had the knowledge about the scandal must resign too.
The trustees have become increasingly alarmed this week as NCAA may be contemplating to impose 'death penalty' on its football program for its "loss of institutional control" during Sandusky's years. Apparently, several trustees argued in their private discussions that Garban's resignation was necessary to show the public the board was serious about "moving forward."