The Penn State scandal became more complicated Wednesday evening when the Department of Education announced its intent to investigate the university for its handling of allegations that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted children. Specifically, the investigation will address the university's compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or the Cleary Act for short.
According to the Cleary Act, "colleges and universities are required to disclose the number of criminal offenses on campus that are reported each year," the Department of Education's news release states. Further, "the institution must issue a timely warning if a reported crime represents a threat to the campus community" in certain instances.
Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education in President Barack Obama's cabinet, commented directly on the Sandusky investigation:
"If these allegations of sexual abuse are true then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys. If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse. Schools and school officials have a legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from violence and abuse."
Sandusky, an assistant football coach under Joe Paterno from 1969-1999, was indicted Friday on 40 counts of sexually abusing children. In 2002, an eyewitness came forward and alleged he saw Sandusky rape a child in a Penn State locker room facilty. Two university officials, who've since resigned, are charged with perjury as part of their attempts to cover up the scandal. In addition, university president Graham Spanier has reportedly tendered his resignation, while Paterno announced he plans to retire at season's end.