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Penn State officials receive federal findings on security procedures

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Monday, July 15, 2013, 11:15 a.m.
 

Another chapter in the Jerry Sandusky scandal may be nearing an end.

Penn State officials said Monday they have received the U.S. Department of Education's preliminary findings in a Clery Act investigation on security procedures triggered by the Sandusky child sex abuse case. Penn State did not release the findings.

The investigation centered on the school's compliance with the Clery Act, a federal law that sets standards for disclosing information about crimes on and around campuses.

Federal investigators who descended on the campus shortly after Sandusky's arrest in November 2011 scoured campus records from 1998 through 2011 in an attempt to determine whether university officials covered up allegations that the former assistant football coach abused boys in and around campus facilities.

Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison since his conviction last summer for sexually abusing 10 boys.

Authorities scheduled a July 29 hearing for three former top Penn state administrators charged with concealing Sandusky's crimes. All three maintain their innocence.

The Clery Act, adopted after the 1986 rape and murder of a Lehigh University student, requires all colleges and universities participating in federal student financial aid programs to publish an annual security report, maintain a public crime log and release crime statistics.

A Penn State spokesman said the university will keep the Department of Education's preliminary findings on its case confidential as it formulates a response and awaits the agency's final report. Although the department does not comment on ongoing investigations, individual universities have in the past released preliminary findings, as Virginia Tech did after the 2007 shooting on campus.

Penn State has 120 days to respond to the department, spokesman David LaTorre said.

But there is no guarantee that federal regulators will act quickly after that.

Yale University officials responded in June 2010 to the findings of a Clery Act investigation that concluded the Ivy League school was lax in reporting sexual assaults. The Department of Education fined the school $155,000 fine this month, more than three years later.

If Penn State is found in violation of the law, it could face fines of up to $27,500 for each violation.

Penn State instituted mandatory Clery Act training for staffers and hired a full-time Clery compliance manager in the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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