The 1998 criminal investigation into Jerry Sandusky has taken a backseat to the 2002 incident involving Mike McQueary, Joe Paterno, and Penn State brass.But more details of the 1998 case came out in a New York Times story today.
And it’s becoming clear that officials had just as good a chance at stopping Sandusky in 1998 as they did in 2002.
Here’s what we know about 1998:
Campus police launched an extensive investigation into Sandusky after a young boy’s mother reported an incident involving her son and Sandusky in a shower of a PSU football facility in May of 1998.
The police truly wanted to make a case against Sandusky, a source told the New York Times. They even went so far as to set up a sting operation where officers hid in the mother’s house while she had a face-to-face conversation with Sandusky.
During the conversation, Sandusky admitted to showering with her son and “maybe” touching his private parts, and said, “I wish I were dead.”
This evidence produced a nearly 100-page-long police report, according to the NYT, but the district attorney decided not to prosecute the case.
Despite the evidence, officials familiar with the case told the NYT that the case was a “close call,” and that the decision to not press charges was understandable.
But perhaps the most damning aspect of the incident and investigation is that it never prompted an administrative inquiry by PSU officials.
Here’s what a person familiar with the case told the NYT about the lack of follow-up:
“You have to understand those statements in context — there is nothing that happens at State College that Joe Paterno doesn’t know, or that Graham Spanier doesn’t know. Whether or not a criminal case went forward, there were ample grounds for an administrative inquiry into this matter. I have no evidence that was ever done. And if indeed that report was never passed up, it makes you wonder why not.”
Bottom line: This 1998 investigation has become something of an afterthought. But given how extensive the investigation was, how close to prosecuting the case the police were, and how lackluster PSU was in following up, it’s just as significant as the 2002 incident.
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