An independent report investigating the actions of Penn State University (PSU) surrounding the child abuse committed by ex-employee Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky from ex-FBI director Louis Freeh and his law firm has found PSU’s criminal background check system “inadequate” but improving. The ‘Report of the Special Investigative Counsel Regarding the Actions of The Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky’ from Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP is available at: (Warning: Document may contain content only suitable for adults.) The report released on July 12, 2012 investigated the alleged failure of Penn State to report the sexual abuse of children by former PSU assistant football coach Sandusky – who was found guilty on 45 of 48 sex abuse counts – to the appropriate authorities. With regard to the PSU background check system, the key findings of Chapter 9 of the report, ‘The Protection of Children in University Facilities and Programs,’ include:

  • PSU’s two main policies for background checks on employees and volunteers designed to protect children using PSU facilities and PSU supported programs, Background Check Process and Protection of Minors Involved in University Sponsored Programs, were “significantly inadequate.”
  • PSU staff involved with youth programs said that some volunteer coaches and counselors “fell through the cracks” and were allowed to participate in youth programs and events without appropriate clearances.
  • Confusion among PSU staff members about what the background check process entailed and who was subject to the process factored into inconsistent application of background check policies and procedures.
  • PSU historically had not trained youth program administrators on background check policies and had not consistently required timely submission of background applications to allow sufficient time for background checks.
In addition, the investigation showed that a report prepared by Penn State Outreach Finance Office in May 2010 revealed that 234 of 735 coaches paid to work at summer sports camps in 2009 did not have a background check completed before the camp started. Outreach employees involved in PSU summer sports camps that were quoted in the Freeh report said participation by unscreened individuals occurred “every year and all the time” and described the background check process as a “sieve.” However, the Freeh report also notes a new PSU background check policy that took effect July 5, 2012 – HR99, “Background Check Process” – establishes “a process for ensuring background checks are completed for any individual who is engaged by the University in any work capacity including employees, volunteers, adjunct faculty, students, consultants, contractors, or other similar positions.” According to the report, the revised background check process will require an additional 23,650 background checks to be conducted annually. The new PSU background check policy HR99 is available at: The independent report by Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, into the actions of Penn State University surrounding the child abuse committed by ex-employee Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky is available at: (Warning: Document may contain content only suitable for adults.) For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at, call ESR at 415.898.0044, or email [email protected].  Related ESR News blogs: New Penn State University Background Check Policy Calls for Criminal History and Child Abuse Record Checks Penn State Scandal Shows Why Charities Should Background Check Members with Access to Vulnerable Populations Source: About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percentage of screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit, call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474 (Toll Free), or email [email protected]. About ESR News: The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected].]]>