The U.S. Department of Education has started its investigation into the crime-reporting at Penn State following the sex abuse scandal on campus. Investigators are trying to determine whether the failure to report the alleged sexual assault and rape violated federal laws, including the Clery Act.
The Clery Act is an important component of crime reporting that applies to colleges and universities throughout the country that receive federal aid or subsidies. The law requires that colleges report information about campus crimes to the local authorities. If the college or university fails to report the crime, the school may be punished with fines or other consequences under the law.
Investigators are following up on the scandal that has rocked Penn State involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Other members of the Penn State community, including legendary football head coach Joe Paterno, have been fired or charged with crimes related to the scandal. Jerry Sandusky faces countless charges for alleged sexual abuse, assault and rape of young boys.
While Penn State is fully cooperating with the federal DOE investigation by providing documents and records, it’s likely that it may take weeks or months for the DOE to come to conclusions about Penn State’s compliance with the Clery Act.
Source: Huffington Post, “The Penn State Mess – Federal Prosecutors Where Are You?“, Linda Baden, 11/12/2011