(CNN) — Former Penn State President Graham Spanier said he never would have ignored accusations of child sex abuse on campus because, among other things, he “personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child,” according to a letter he sent to the school’s board of trustees.
“It is unfathomable and illogical to think that a respected family sociologist and family therapist, someone who personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child, someone who devoted a significant portion of his career to the welfare of children and youth … would have knowingly turned a blind eye to any report of child abuse or predatory sexual acts directed at children,” Spanier said in the letter, which was dated Monday and obtained by CNN on Tuesday.
He then blasted the findings of an internal review that found top university officials, including Spanier, had failed to report abuse and created an environment that helped to empower former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, calling the report “egregious in its incomplete and inaccurate reporting.”
Spanier, who has not been charged, added that he does not remember receiving e-mails about abuse accusations in 1998, and was not made to understand that a 2001 shower incident witnessed by a graduate assistant had been sexual in nature.
He also disputed accusations made in the report that he and other university officials kept the board of trustees in the dark about the abuse accusations.
“I want to be clear that the Chair of the Board of Trustees was kept informed by me throughout 2011 to the fullest extent I was able, beginning on the Sunday after my Grand Jury appearance and in other discussions with trustee leaders.”
In his 267-page report, Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who led the review, blamed Spanier, former head coach Joe Paterno, and ex-administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley for having “never demonstrated … any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest,” while the board of trustees failed to perform their oversight duties.
Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial on charges of perjury and failing to report child sex abuse.
Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing young boys over a 15-year period.
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