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7 alumni-elected trustees ask court for access to Penn State records used for Freeh report

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Seven Penn State board members asked a judge Monday for access to documents used by a team led by former FBI director Louis Freeh that produced a 2012 report on how university leaders handled child molestation allegations against Jerry Sandusky.

The petition filed in the Center County Court of Common Pleas by the alumni-elected trustees seeks to force the school to let them see everything the Freeh team reviewed, gathered and produced in connection with the university-commissioned report.

The Freeh report, criticized by many alumni, found fault with former Penn State top officials, including the late football coach Joe Paterno.

The seven who brought the legal action said they want to review the materials so they can, among other things, determine whether it supports what they called the report's "subjective, hyperbolic and sweeping conclusions."

Penn State's president and board chairman, anticipating the legal action, issued a statement Sunday that said the trustee group declined confidentiality measures that were offered as a compromise.

"As we have stated in receiving past requests, the university intends to honor the promises of confidentiality made to the faculty, staff and others who were interviewed as part of the Freeh investigation," said Penn State president Eric Barron and board chairman Keith Masser.

Barron and Masser said they were concerned about the negative effect the trustees' efforts may have on future investigations.

In their petition, the trustees said they agreed to compromise but Masser and "unidentified 'board leadership'" would not provide all the material they wanted under the confidentiality agreement.

"The purported compromise is a transparent tactic intended to undermine the lawful demand to inspect the source material while continuing to conceal information from the petitioner trustees and other trustees," their court filing said.

Sandusky, the school's retired defensive football coach, was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. He maintains his innocence, and a court hearing is scheduled for later this week on an appeal that has been filed under seal.

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