State Audit Finds ‘Distressing’ Background Check Error Rate

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released the results today of an audit he announced last summer to evaluate Penn State’s overall performance and  implementation of recommendations following the Sandusky scandal. While DePasquale admits the university has adopted significant change since an original set of recommendations released from the office in 2012, he reported the change is not enough, recommending Penn State take 23 additional actions.

“One of the more distressing findings in this audit is that years after Jerry Sandusky’s conviction for sexually assaulting young boys, Penn State fails to ensure the university conducts 100 percent of mandated background checks,” DePasquale said in a press release. “In the post-Sandusky era, it would be expected that Penn State would be hyper-vigilant about completing all required background checks. Apparently that is not the case.”

DePasquale said the auditor’s office found an 8 percent error rate for required clearances mandated for children’s academic and sports camps on Penn State’s campus and a 4 percent error rate for other pre-employment background checks campuswide.

To put these into perspective, the auditor general said potentially 57 of 732 children’s camps held during 2016 had at least one person missing a legally-required clearance and potentially 962 of 24,382 employees hired in 2016 did not complete the required background check.

“It is shocking and intolerable for any university to miss this many background checks, but it is appalling that, so soon after the Sandusky scandal, Penn State has an error rate this high,” DePasquale said. “As we so tragically learned from Sandusky, it takes only one child predator to cause what could be lifetime trauma to a child. Penn State officials must end their long-running string of excuses and immediately correct this serious deficiency.”

You can read the full audit report here.

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Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.


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