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Documents released showing how Freeh was hired for PSU report

Reported By: Gary Sinderson
Written By: Marc Stempka

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Recently released emails by a group working to take a closer look at how Penn State University and the school's board of trustees handled the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal are shedding light on how the school reached a decision on who would handle their internal investigation.

The emails were released this week by Ryan Bagwell, who shared them following ongoing efforts for open records requests filed against PSU that are related to the Sandusky scandal. The emails showed trustees selected former FBI director Louis Freeh over former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff to handle the school's internal investigation.

Those correspondences also revealed how Gov. Tom Corbett played a role in the selection process.

The emails were from November 2011, shortly after Sandusky was arrested on child sex abuse-related charges and also from a few days after the trustees voted to fire former football head coach Joe Paterno and cut ties with former president Graham Spanier.

The emails show trustees Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis were in charge of the investigator hiring process and following consultations with Corbett, Freeh was selected. At a press event in Johnstown in 2012, Corbett reaffirmed his support for Freeh.

"The hiring of Louis Freeh, which I certainly encourage, in fact, I provided his name, I don't know if others did, but I provided his name," Corbett said at the event. "The board was in a position to say 'We need this information as well as everybody else.'"

The emails also showed that Frazier initially favored Chertoff, but at a later board meeting, was updating the trustees on the work being done by Freeh.

"Judge Freeh's team also has been cooperating and interfacing with the NCAA and the Big Ten conference in connection with their respective reviews of this matter," Frazier said at a 2012 trustee meeting.

The emails showed that Frazier and Tomalis both interviewed Freeh and Chertoff on November 17, 2011, and that each meeting was four hours long. Following the meetings, Frazier sent an email to other trustees and to then university general counsel Cynthia Baldwin about the investigator search process.

Additionally, the emails show former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani contacted the investigator search committee and that Corbett also had a conversation with then attorney general Linda Kelly about her office conferring with the investigative team.

Kelly was appointed attorney general following Corbett's election as governor in 2010 and oversaw the Sandusky prosecution.

Emails also mention Rep. Patrick Meehan, of the Philadelphia area, wanted to see congressional representation on the investigators search committee, but that idea was rejected.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times