STATE COLLEGE — Former FBI chief Louis Freeh and his investigators have conducted 200 interviews in their extensive probe of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, asking questions that go beyond the charges against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and into the relationship between the football program and the administration.
Since November, when the Penn State Board of Trustees hired his group to examine the Sandusky case, Freeh's team has talked to people ranging from high-level administrators to retired secretaries to current and former staffers in the athletic department. That includes many employees who worked at the football building while the late Joe Paterno was coach.
The trustees themselves also are among those to be questioned, said board chairwoman Karen Peetz.
As Freeh seeks to fulfill his mission — he is charged with finding out how Penn State failed to stop an alleged predator in its midst, and with recommending changes aimed at preventing abuse — board members facing criticism are stressing anew that the former federal judge and his team have complete independence.
Trustee Ron Tomalis, one of two leaders of the investigative committee to which Freeh must report, suggested that Freeh is in contact with other investigatory bodies. There are ongoing state, federal and NCAA probes into the Penn State situation.
Though Freeh has not commented on what the investigation has found so far, he's already released some preliminary suggestions aimed at improving university oversight, such as enhanced background checks for staffers working with children and immediately retrieving keys, access cards and other property from people no longer associated with the university.
A spokesman for Freeh declined to say how many investigators are in State College. The team includes retired law enforcement officials and former prosecutors.
The board hopes to release Freeh's findings by the fall.