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Penn State board member resigns over Sandusky scandal

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Thu July 26, 2012
Steve Garban was chairman of Penn State's Board of Trustees when news of the Sandusky scandal broke last year.
Steve Garban was chairman of Penn State's Board of Trustees when news of the Sandusky scandal broke last year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Steve Garban was serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees when the scandal broke
  • He stepped down as chairman following the arrest of Jerry Sandusky in November 2011
  • He resigned as a trustee on Thursday

(CNN) -- Steve Garban resigned Thursday from the Penn State Board of Trustees, becoming the first board member to step down following the release of a scathing report that found it was part of the failure that allowed a longtime sexual predator to prey on boys at the school.

Garban's resignation follows last week's release of an internal review conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh that found Penn State's most powerful leader showed "total and consistent disregard" for child sex abuse victims and covered up attacks by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

"After absorbing the findings of the Freeh Report last week, the Board of Trustees accepted responsibility for the failures of governance that took place on our watch. Following the release of the report, you also asked each member of the Board to evaluate our individual paths forward," Garban wrote in his resignation letter to board chairwoman Karen Peetz.

"It is clear to me that my presence on the Board has become a distraction and an impediment to your efforts to move forward and continue the Board's most important work."

Garban served as chairman of the Board of Trustees when the scandal broke and stepped down following Sandusky's arrest.

In a letter posted on the university's website, Peetz said she accepted the resignation.

Garban worked at the university for 33 years. He was re-elected to his fifth term on the board in 2010, according to a biography posted online.

Freeh's report cast a wide net of blame, from the late famed football coach Joe Paterno to the university trustees, in the scandal.

Garban's resignation is the latest fallout for the university, which is still under scrutiny by the Department of Education and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), inquiries that could further tarnish its reputation and that of its storied football program.

Two former university administrators are awaiting trial for their role in the scandal, and more charges are possible as the state's Attorney General's Office investigates what Penn State may have known about Sandusky's behavior.

Sandusky, 68, was convicted in late June of 45 of the 48 sexual abuse counts he faced, involving 10 victims. He will be sentenced in September.

Sandusky's legal team has said it will appeal the convictions.

CNN's Cristy Lenz contributed to this report.

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