The U.S. Department of Education said it will launch an investigation into whether Penn State University broke federal law in how it handled allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors and a former school official.
Former Penn State Defensive Coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing several young boys, including incidents on campus, authorities said. The school’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday fired Coach Joe Paterno and the university’s president, Graham Spanier.
Under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, colleges and universities are required to disclose the number of criminal offenses on campus that are reported each year. In addition, in certain cases, the institution must issue a timely warning if a reported crime represents a threat to the campus community. The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for Clery Act compliance.
“If these allegations of sexual abuse are true then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a news release. “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.”
The investigation of Clery Act violations will be conducted by the Office of Federal Student Aid.