© AP
From beyond the grave: Joe Paterno died in January and a letter that he wrote about the role of the sex abuse scandal is has been circulated among former players and students in recent days
Penn State's internal investigation into the Jerry Sandusky scandal found that top University officials including the long-beloved football coach Joe Paterno 'repeatedly concealed critical facts' about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys.

A team of investigators, led by former federal judge and FBI director Louis Freeh, interviewed hundreds of people to learn how the university responded to warning signs that its once revered former defensive coordinator - a man who helped Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno win two national titles while touting 'success with honor' - was a serial child molester.

Mr Freeh said that the men showed 'total disregard' for Sandusky's victims, and treated them in a 'callous' way.

'The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest,' Mr Freeh said in a statement as the report was released.

The early pages of the 267-page investigation looks back to the 1998 police report, which was the first formal document to note that Sandusky was behaving inappropriately with boys he met through his charity, bringing them on campus and forcing them into sex acts.

It states that while the school's board members did not know the extent of the charges, the report finds that then-athletic director Tim Curley, then-school vice president Gary Schultz, former university president Graham Spanier and Paterno all did.

'Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University... failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.

'These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the board of trustees, the university community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001.'

'These individuals, unchecked by the board of trustees that did not perform its oversight duties, empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access to the University's facilities and affiliation with the university's prominent football program.'

'Indeed, that continued access provided Sandusky with the very currency that enabled him to attract his victims. Some coaches, administrators and football program staff members ignored the red flags of Sandusky's behaviors and no one warned the public about him.'

These findings are particularly controversial when looking at Joe Paterno's involvement because when he met with the grand jury after the scandal broke out last fall, Paterno denied paying close attention to the 1998 police report. Today's investigation results refute that story, saying instead that the head coach followed the incident closely.

Schultz' personal notes, after he was informed by campus police that one 11-year-old victim's mother reported that Sandusky had showered with her son, show that he was curious about other possible cases but chose not to follow up.

On notes dated May 4, 1998, Schultz wrote: 'Behavior- at best inappropriate @ worst sexual improprieties'.

That was followed with 'At min- poor judgment' and 'is this opening of pandora's box?' and 'other children?'

Rather than continuing to investigate, Schultz and other administrators chose not to file a formal crime log entry saying 'I can justify that decision because of the lack of clear evidence at the time.'

Two years later, a janitor walks in on a boy (titled Victim 8) being assaulted by Sandusky but says that he did not report the incident because he thought 'they'll get rid of all of us.'

This is cited as just one example that backs up the report's claim that Penn State has a poor structure in terms of human resources and dealing with the proper chain of command.

'The most saddening finding by the by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims,' the report states.

'As the Grand Jury similarly noted in its presentment, there was no "attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct except as related to preventing its re-occurrence on University property.'

Sara Ganim, the Patriot News reporter who initially broke the story last fall and won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage, reports that the school spent $500,000 per month financing the investigation headed by the former FBI director.

The report also could add to what is known about the role of Paterno, who died from lung cancer in January at age 85, two months after being fired as coach following Sandusky's arrest.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 criminal counts last month at a trial that included gut-wrenching testimony from eight young men who said he abused them as boys.

Paterno's son, Jay, told NBC's 'Today' his family was awaiting the report's release and hoped it would be the thorough investigation his father wanted.

'We've never been afraid of the truth, so let's have the truth come out,' Jay Paterno said.

In a letter written after his firing that surfaced Wednesday, Paterno defended the football program's integrity and rejected the notion that Sandusky's sexual abuse of boys amounted to a 'football scandal' or in any way tarnished the accomplishments of his players or Penn State's reputation as a whole.

The Paterno family said the letter was given in draft form to a few former players around December. One of the ex-players circulated it to other former players this week, and it was posted on the website, which covers the team.

'An important part of that is to figure out when they knew it, and more importantly why appropriate steps were not taken to stop this ongoing conduct of Sandusky.'

The Freeh report is expected to delve deeply into the handling of a 2001 report from Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant who told Paterno he had saw Sandusky with a young boy in the football team shower.

Paterno, in turn, alerted athletic director Tim Curley, who investigated the report along with Gary Schultz, a university vice president who oversaw the campus police department. Curley and Schultz ultimately decided not to alert law enforcement or child welfare authorities.

Curley, who's on leave, and the now-retired Schultz, are awaiting trial on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating Sandusky and failed to report the McQueary complaint to civil authorities as required.

After a 50-minute meeting in Harrisburg with the judge overseeing their case, Schultz's lawyer said Wednesday he won't be among those who call up the Freeh report the minute it is posted.

'I don't expect I'll be reading it for a while,' said Pittsburgh attorney Tom Farrell. 'I've got other things to do.'

Heavy website traffic could make it difficult for people to access the Freeh report, but experts say good planning will usually avoid such 'flash crowd' crashes.

'To a certain extent, flash crowds are a fact of life in a news-media-driven world,' said Carlos Morales, vice president at Massachusetts-based Arbor Networks, a company that provides network security and monitoring software.

The NCAA, meanwhile, said Wednesday that it will decide on whether to take action at the 'appropriate time.'

The governing body said it has already been collecting information from Freeh's probe, and that Penn State will have to formally respond to questions from NCAA President Mark Emmert after Freeh reveals his findings.

The NCAA is reviewing how Penn State exerted 'institutional control' in relation to the Sandusky matter, and whether university officials complied with policies that pertain to honesty and ethical conduct. The NCAA could open a more formal investigation that may expose Penn State to sanctions.