Monday, July 28, 2014
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Merck's Ken Frazier discounts Paterno family report on Penn State-Sandusky scandal, according to AP

Philly native and Merck CEO Ken Frazier, who serves on the Penn State board of trustees, said Thursday that the report on the Jerry Sandusky investigation from family of late football Joe Paterno brought forward "no new facts."

Merck's Ken Frazier discounts Paterno family report on Penn State-Sandusky scandal, according to AP

Philadelphia native and Merck chief executive officer Ken Frazier, who serves on the Penn State board of trustees, said Thursday that the report on the Jerry Sandusky investigation from family of late football Joe Paterno brought forward "no new facts."

The Associated Press report says that Frazier, who led the board's task force formed to investigate the Sandusky matter, spoke at a meeting of the university's legal and compliance committee at the board's two-day meeting in Hershey.

Frazier got to be CEO in part because he was credited with devising Merck's legal strategy in fighting lawsuits over the company's Vioxx drug.

"I believe that we are entitled to look at the words in contemporaneous emails and other documents and draw the conclusions that we need to as a university," Frazier said Thursday, referring to the school's investigation of university executives. "We are not subject to the criminal beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard."

The full AP story is below.

 

Mark Scolforo

Associated Press

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - A Penn State trustee said Thursday a recent report about the Jerry Sandusky scandal produced for the family of former football coach Joe Paterno "strains to interpret" emails and other documents from administrators handing the matter.

Trustee Kenneth Frazier, who led the board's task force formed to investigate the Sandusky matter, spoke at a meeting of the university's legal and compliance committee at the board's two-day meeting in Hershey.

The Paterno family report had been critical of the university's own examination of how accusations of abuse against the former assistant coach were handled by Paterno and high-ranking administrators.

But Frazier said the Paterno report did not address many of the findings and documents in the Penn State study, which was led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

He said the Freeh report unearthed documents from 1998 and 2001 that he said were "among the most important documents produced" about the school administrators' actions in response to reports Sandusky was behaving inappropriately with boys.

"The Paterno report was just that, a report," said Frazier, chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. "It isn't an independent investigation. Indeed, it brings forward no new facts that shed light on the university's functioning."

Paterno's son Scott issued a statement in response saying it was "unfortunate that Ken Frazier chose to make comments in a forum where his impressions of disputable facts were not open to challenge."

In response to questions from the public, Frazier said his personal conclusions about how the Sandusky matter was handled will not be affected by whether the three senior administrators are convicted or acquitted of pending criminal charges.

"I believe that we are entitled to look at the words in contemporaneous emails and other documents and draw the conclusions that we need to as a university," Frazier said. "We are not subject to the criminal beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard."

At a separate meeting in the Hotel Hershey, the board's governance committee recommended that the state's governor and the university president no longer be allowed to vote as trustees, cutting the number of voting trustees from 32 to 30. The full board is expected to consider the change, and other rule revisions, in May.

A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett said he supports the proposal.

The trustees are also considering making a quorum 16 members instead of the current 13. Penn State's lawyers said the board has the authority to make the changes, and they would not require legislative approval.

Committee chairman James Broadhurst said members feel strongly that the board should not shrink more dramatically.

"We need all the members that we have on this board to transact business at this time," he said.

Another recommendation would cut the time required for notice before the board meets, from 10 to three days. Some trustees said that would eliminate much of the need for the smaller executive committee to meet and make decisions.

The rewrite also would clean up antiquated language, dealing with such subjects as the type of labor Penn State students are required to perform on the school's behalf.

Sandusky, a former longtime top assistant under Paterno, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison time after being convicted of child molestation charges. He is appealing the conviction.

Paterno died last year, about two months after Sandusky was arrested. Three former administrators are currently facing criminal charges for their actions regarding Sandusky: president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley. All three deny the allegations.

David Sell
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David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at dsell@phillynews.com.

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