How Open Records law would have stopped sex abuse sooner at Penn State

Opinion from Poynter:

The Freeh report on the Jerry Sandusky Penn State sex abuse scandal makes many recommendations on how the whole rotten mess might be avoided in the future, including transforming the very culture of the university. Sadly, the report fails to recommend a tangible key change that might have exposed the problems and protected children years ago.

Despite being supported by tax dollars, Penn State University is not subject to the state’s open records laws. Penn State’s records, including police records, e-mail, phone records, calendars and memos, are closed. Other schools and state agencies must comply with Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law, but not Penn State and three other large state schools.

This week, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sara Ganim, who broke the Penn State scandal story, told a group of reporters and editors at Poynter that the open record exemption made it much more difficult to investigate the sex abuse story.