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Attorney, others react to PSU's Clery Act policies - abc27 WHTM

Attorney, others react to PSU's Clery Act policies

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

The Freeh report said Penn State University was lacking in its Clery Act policies. That's a federal law to ensure colleges keep, and regularly report, crimes that occur on campus and publish an annual safety report.

That act was passed in 1991, but 20 years later, as of November 2011, Penn State's policy was still in draft form.

The Freeh report said university police officers handling Clery policies had minimal time to deal with the duties and were never trained.

Other university employees said they weren't trained, either.

"It just makes no sense," said Patrick Hogan of Harrisburg. "If you got certain policies in place, you should have the plan set up of who's gonna run it, who's gonna take care of business."

"I'm very upset and very hurt that they didn't do their job," said Georgia Kokos of Mechanicsburg. "They just didn't do their job. The responsibility wasn't there."

The Freeh report also states that Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier had a responsibility to enforce Clery compliance, given their leadership positions.

Spanier said he wasn't aware the Clery Act was not fully implemented.

But midstate defense attorney Rich Wagner, said ignorance is not a strong defense.

"Much like the person who goes down the street and goes through a stop sign cannot say, 'well I didn't know I was required to stop at a stop sign,' he's presumed to know the law," said Wagner.

Wagner predicts the Penn State fallout will have implications for other universities in the future.

"Any university or college, I think, puts them in a position that they now are certainly aware that they must adopt and undertake the appropriate training and education for its employees so that in the future they do not fall down on not complying with the act," said Wagner.

Penn State has taken steps to toughen its Clery Act policies. For example, in March, the university appointed a full-time Clery compliance officer.

"Too little too late," said Kokos.

Penn State could face big repercussions for not complying with the Clery Act. In addition to lawsuits, the university could be fined $27,000 for each violation and could be cut off from federal financial aid.

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