In the month since former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested and charged with sexual abuse, a lot has changed on the Penn State campus and throughout State College. Students, staff, and members of the community have become accustomed to the constant flow of reporters and television news trucks on campus, as well as the many state and federal authorities who have come to State College to conduct investigations into the sex crimes allegations.
Yes, you read that right - that's investigations, plural. In fact, there are seven extensive investigations going on in State College right now, and that number may continue to increase as more alleged victims come forward.
We reported on one of those seven investigations last week when we discussed the U.S. Department of Education's inquiry on whether Penn State officials disclosed reported criminal offenses on the campus in compliance with the federal Clery Act. In addition, the NCAA is investigating whether Penn State complied with its rules and policies, and a former Philadelphia district attorney is examining The Second Mile program. On the flip side, Sandusky has also launched a private investigation into the allegations.
Additional investigations are being conducted by the state attorney general's office, local police agencies, Children and Youth Services, and the former director of the FBI.
There are some advantages to so many simultaneous investigations. With so many people looking into the allegations, there is a greater likelihood that the truth will be uncovered. But there are also disadvantages to the heightened hunt for information. For example, the same witness could be interviewed several times by different people. Any innocent variance in their story could result in an unfair and inaccurate portrayal of that person as someone to be suspected.
Whether these investigations turn up anything of value remains to be seen. There is one thing that is certain, however: Penn State students can't wait for their college and lives to return to normal.
Source: The Patriot-News, "Penn State pines for normalcy amid sex abuse scandal," Sara Ganim, Nov. 29, 2011
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