STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Penn State's investigation into the Jerry Sandusky scandal concludes that Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and other senior officials "concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse" because they were worried about bad publicity.
A 267-page report is the result of an eight-month inquiry by former FBI director Louis Freeh, hired by university trustees weeks after Sandusky was arrested in November to look into what has become one of sports' biggest scandals.
The report says president Graham Spanier, football coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade."
Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts. The scandal led to the ouster of Paterno and the school's president.
The report says sexual abuse might have been prevented if university officials had banned him from bringing children onto campus after a 1998 inquiry.
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The report said that despite their knowledge of the police probe into Sandusky showering with a boy in a football locker room, Spanier, Paterno, Curley and Schultz took no action to limit his access to campus.
The report also says the four men didn't act to protect children as a result.
The May 1998 complaint by a woman whose son came home with wet hair after showering with Sandusky didn't result in charges at the time.
The report says Schultz was worried the matter could be opening "Pandora's box."
A "critical written correspondence'' uncovered earlier this year, investigators said, contained evidence of a proposed plan to report to law enforcement authorities a 2001 incident involving Sandusky and a young boy in a university shower room that was witnessed by football assistant Michael McQueary.
"After Mr. Curley consulted with Mr. Paterno, however, they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities,'' the report said. "Their failure to protect the ... child victim, or make attempts to identify him, created a dangerous situation for other unknown, unsuspecting young boys who were lured to the Penn State campus and football games by Sandusky and victimized repeatedly by him."
"Further,'' the report said, "they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child's identity, about what McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February 9, 2001."
Citing witness statements and other evidence, the university officials acted "in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity.''
"The most powerful leaders at Penn State University - Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley - repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large.
"Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky's victims.''
Contributing: USA TODAY