Frazier: Freeh report’s conclusions aren’t “irrefreutable”
The chairman of Penn State’s task force that oversaw Louis Freeh’s investigation last month has doubts that top Penn State officials decided not to report child abuse allegations to protect the reputation of the school’s football program.
In a deposition given to lawyers as part of a lawsuit with Pennsylvania last month, Trustee Ken Frazier said other reasons for not reporting the allegations are equally valid and that Freeh’s conclusions aren’t “as clear and irrefutable as some people seem to think they are.”
But he stands by his decision to hire the former FBI director over former secretary of homeland security Michael Chertoff. Chertoff, who attended law school with Frazier, works for a law firm that represents pharmaceutical company Merck, whose chairman is Frazier. Hiring Chertoff’s firm could hurt the report’s independence, Frazier said.
Frazier told lawyers he regrets the trustees’ decision not to review Freeh’s report before releasing it to the public. Freeh released his report to the public at the same time it was given to trustees, and “as a result we were scrambling to deal with the public fallout in a way that we would not have had we been able to sit down in a quiet room, understand what was being said, probe what was being said and being prepared for what was being said,” he said.
While refusing to reject Freeh’s conclusion that administrators decided not report a 2001 allegation of child abuse to protect the football program from bad publicity, he said the true motivation for their inaction is not clear.
“From my perspective, as I sit here today and as I sat there then, I continued to believe that human motivation is an extremely complex subject that has multiple layers.” Frazier said. “And so as it relates to the conclusions about why people did or did not do what they did, I believe there are multiple ways to explain that. I am not saying that the conclusions he drew were unreasonable. I am simply saying that there are other reasonable inferences that could be drawn from that.”
You can read the entire deposition here.