Graham Spanier Sues Penn State, Louis Freeh for Defamation


In a move expected for some time, Graham Spanier sued the school he was once president of, Pennsylvania State University, and former FBI director Louis Freeh.

PSU hired Freeh to investigate the alleged cover-up Spanier and other high-ranking school officials participated in to keep the Jerry Sandusky scandal from becoming public. The Freeh Report wound up being central to the NCAA's historic sanctions against the PSU football program.

According to The Associated Press, Spanier sued PSU for violating a non-disparagement agreement he made when he stepped down in Nov. 2011. He also sued Freeh for defamation, essentially that he was directly accused of knowingly keeping child molestation allegations against Sandusky a secret.

Spanier and PSU's former vice president, Gary Schultz, and athletic director, Tim Curley, are still awaiting trial on charges for an alleged administrative cover-up.

However, as reported last month, a panel of judges dropped charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy against all three. The panel also dropped the perjury charge against Curley. They are all still facing charges of child endangerment and failure to report suspected abuse.

Helping usher in an overhauled administration and football program, PSU President Eric Barron oversaw some of the school's efforts that led to the NCAA reducing its sanctions ahead of scheduled. Barron has, however, been highly critical of the Freeh Report and the NCAA's alleged involvement with investigators before the report's release.

ESPN's Outside the Lines previously spoke to Spanier's attorneys, who stressed their client was outrageously misrepresented in the Freeh Report. That interview also preceded the decision to scale back charges against Spanier, Schultz, and Curley.

"During his tenure as president of Penn State, Dr. Spanier never received any information that Sandusky had abused a child," the lawsuit reads. "[Freeh] determined to transform Dr. Spanier from a preeminent academic administrator to a conspirator who enabled a serial pedophile."

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