Five years after Penn State University was rocked by the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, the U.S. Department of Education levied a record $2.4 million fine against the school for hiding or failing to classify and report campus crime properly, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. In a 239-page report, officials cited 11 areas of violations of the Clery Act, the federal law that requires universities to disclose crimes reported on or near their campuses and warn students about potential threats. Among them is the claim that Penn State administrators knew Sandusky was a suspected sexual predator and did nothing. “In short, a man who was about to be charged with violent crimes against defenseless minors was free to roam the Penn State campus, as he pleased,” the Education Department told Penn State President Eric Barron.
Penn State responded, “While regrettably we cannot change the past, today the university has been recognized for significantly strengthening our programs since 2011.” The report was issued days after a jury ordered the university to pay $7.3 million to Mike McQueary, the former assistant football coach who blamed school officials for destroying his career after he became the key witness against Sandusky and Penn State administrators charged with covering up the crimes. The Department of Education examination, launched after Sandusky’s arrest, stretched back to 1998, when the first complaint about his child sex abuse surfaced. Its findings included violations that spanned years and had nothing to do with Sandusky, sex crimes, or the athletic program.