Department Of Education Fines Penn State $2.4 Million For Child Sex Abuse Scandal

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The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday the conclusion of its investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Upon review, the department found 11 instances in which the university violated the Clery Act.

The Department of Education now suggests the school should be fined $2.4 million, the largest fine issued for Clery Act violations in history. Penn State’s violations were found to have taken place in the investigation’s time range of 1998-2011. Sandusky was indicted on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys in 2011.


The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities receiving federal financial aid to report the number of on-campus criminal offenses and issue warnings if a crime represents a threat to those living on campus. Penn State received $566.4 million in financial aid in the 2014-15 award year, according to the Department’s letter

As a reminder, several Penn State officials allegedly knew about Sandusky’s actions decades before he faced the legal system—Joe Paterno was reportedly notified in-person by a victim in 1976; former president Graham Spanier, former VP Gary Schultz, and former athletic director Tim Curley are all currently facing charges of child endangerment and failure to report suspected child abuse; a man presumed by John Doe 102 to be athletic director Jim Tarman was reportedly notified of a case of sexual abuse in 1987 or 1988, depending on John Doe 102’s age. (Doe said he could not testify under oath that it was Tarman for sure, saying that he remembered the names “Harman” or “Carman” after the incident.)* John Doe 102, an occupant of the Nittany House, a center for troubled youth on Penn State’s campus, was told to write an apology letter to Sandusky and Tarman for “telling lies” before running away.


Ten of the eleven findings are paired with fines that come in under $40,000—finding No. 5, which states Penn State failed to “properly classify reported incidents and disclose crime statistics from 2008-2011,” was tagged with a $2.17 million fine. You can read the Department’s full list of findings here. Below, find an abbreviated list from their bulletin:

Finding #1: Clery Act violations related to the Sandusky matter (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #2: Lack of administrative capability as a result of the University’s substantial failures to comply with the Clery Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act throughout the review period, including insufficient training, support, and resources to ensure compliance (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #3: Omitted and/or inadequate annual security report and annual fire safety report policy statements (proposed fine: $37,500).

Finding #4: Failure to issue timely warnings in accordance with federal regulations.

Finding #5: Failure to properly classify reported incidents and disclose crime statistics from 2008-2011 (proposed fine: $2,167,500).

Finding #6: Failure to establish an adequate system for collecting crime statistics from all required sources (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #7: Failure to maintain an accurate and complete daily crime log.

Finding #8: Reporting discrepancies in crime statistics published in the annual security report and those reported to the department’s campus crime statistics database (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #9: Failure to publish and distribute an annual security report in accordance with federal regulations (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #10: Failure to notify prospective students and employees of the availability of the annual security report and annual fire safety report (proposed fine: $27,500).

Finding #11: Failure to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (proposed fine: $27,500).

The fines are the second payout Penn State has been asked to make this week. Last Friday, whistleblower and former Nittany Lions assistant coach Mike McQueary was awarded $7.3 million by a jury that found the university defamed him after he sounded the alarm on Sandusky’s abuse of young children.

*Correction: This post has been updated to show Jim Tarman’s presence at the Nittany House originated from John Doe 102's deposition. The initial version read, “former athletic director Jim Tarman was notified of a case of sexual abuse in 1987 or 1988, depending on John Doe 102's age.”