PSU chief: No whitewash in abuse probe

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State president Rodney Erickson says faculty members should not worry that school trustees would "whitewash" an investigation into child sex-abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Erickson pledged Tuesday to the University Faculty Senate that investigators will have unfettered access to and cooperation from the school. He said the leadership of a committee checking into the allegations should lend confidence "that there will be no whitewash ... no sweeping under the rug."

Still, many faculty members voiced skepticism about the intentions of the investigators and trustees.

Trustees have appointed former FBI director Louis Freeh to lead the probe for a committee spearheaded by trustee Kenneth Frazier.

Erickson said he would urge trustees to have the committee members meet with faculty.

Sandusky says he is innocent on charges he sexually abused eight boys over a 15-year span.

Erickson also said that Penn State would respond to the NCAA's Dec. 16 deadline for answers into its handling of the scandal as a "work in progress." A school spokeswoman cited the volume of investigations under way as a potential factor.

Investigations began after police arrested Sandusky last month.

"We will make a response, even though our knowledge will not be complete by Dec. 16," Erickson said Tuesday. "We will respond as a work in progress to the NCAA."

NCAA president Mark Emmert last month said in a letter to Erickson that the governing body for college sports will look at "Penn State's exercise of institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics programs" in the case of Sandusky, the retired defensive coordinator expected in court Dec. 13 on charges of 40 counts of child sex abuse. Sandusky maintains his innocence.

Emmert has described Penn State and its trustees as being "extremely collaborative," but also acknowledged Monday that the school may not be able to provide all the answers in time. The information could lead to a formal NCAA investigation of Penn State, Emmert has said.

The university will be open and honest to all investigations, Erickson said Tuesday, "and learn from it. Take the recommendations that come out ... implement them and move forward."

Since taking over for ousted president Graham Spanier, Erickson has vowed to make Penn State a leader in raising awareness of issues related to child abuse following the scandal that has tarnished the school's image. The effort includes using football bowl revenue that typically goes back to the athletic department to causes related to such issues.

The total revenue, Erickson said Tuesday, will reach at least $2 million, $500,000 more than the amount the school promised last week would be donated for programs at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

The additional revenue will now go toward helping to establish a Penn State institute that would work in the treatment and prevention, as well as research into, child abuse. The first piece to the institute would be a Center for the Protection of Children to be based at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Erickson said.

Big Ten teams pool bowl revenue and split it among the 12 schools. Penn State's bowl revenue had typically gone back to the athletic department.

The 22nd-ranked Nittany Lions (9-3) are headed to the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2 in Dallas, which had the seventh pick of Big Ten teams among bowl games with conference tie-ins, after the BCS games.

"We're taking both steps to (create) change immediately as well as a longer-term goal in which our faculty can be very much involved," Erickson said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.