The probe’s “most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State.”

–  former FBI director Louis Freeh’s statement on the findings during his investigation of the Penn State scandal.

Yes, what about the children? It was the football program before the children who suffered rape and molestation by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to the findings in a 200-page report released today in the Penn State-funded probe led by Louis Freeh. (CNN):

[F]ormer athletic director Tim Curley consulted with former head coach Joe Paterno following sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky and “they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the authorities.”

…”The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,” Freeh said. “Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.”

You’ll recall that  last month Sanduskywas convicted on 45 criminal counts. Eight young men testified that he abused them as boys. Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno’s reputation is surely going to suffer in this report. This week a damning letter surfaced that, to be generous, is callous and a moral disgrace:

In a letter written after his firing that surfaced Wednesday, Paterno defended the football program’s integrity and rejected the notion that Sandusky’s sexual abuse of boys amounted to a “football scandal” or in any way tarnished the accomplishments of his players or Penn State’s reputation as a whole.

The Paterno family said the letter was given in draft form to a few former players around December. One of the ex-players circulated it to other former players this week, and it was posted on the website FightonState.com, which covers the team.

“Over and over again, I have heard Penn State officials decrying the influence of football and have heard such ignorant comments like Penn State will no longer be a ‘football factory’ and we are going to ‘start’ focusing on integrity in athletics,” Paterno wrote. “These statements are simply unsupported by the five decades of evidence to the contrary – and succeed only in unfairly besmirching both a great university and the players and alumni of the football program who have given of themselves to help make it great.”

More from the report:

“Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University  President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno  failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”

“These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001. …

“These individuals, unchecked by the Board of Trustees that did not perform its oversight duties, empowered Sandusky to attract potential victims to the campus and football events by allowing him to have continued, unrestricted and unsupervised access to the University’s facilities and affiliation with the University’s prominent football program.”

… “The most saddening finding by the by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims. As the Grand Jury similarly noted in its presentment, there was no “attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct except as related to preventing its re-occurrence on University property.”