Employee training for child abuse prevention and reporting now online

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's professional program designed to help individuals recognize and report suspected child abuse is now available online for University employees.

Approximately 3,500 employees have completed the "Reporting Child Abuse" program since it went live on Feb. 28. In addition, more than 11,000 people also have completed Penn State's face-to-face training for identifying and preventing abuse.

Last spring, Penn State finalized a new administrative policy,  AD-72, "Reporting Suspected Child Abuse," to provide guidance to University employees regarding mandated reporting requirements according to the University and the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law. The policy requires that all University employees complete the training each calendar year.

Currently the online training is available for University employees only, noted Susan Cromwell, director of workplace learning and performance in Penn State's Office of Human Resources. Training availability will be expanded to include volunteers and students by the end of May. “In the interim we will continue to offer live training for these groups until all training is online,” she said.

Once fully implemented, the online program will replace the live, face-to-face training. However, face-to-face sessions can still be requested and used in specialized circumstances, noted Susan Basso, vice president for Human Resources.

More than 11,000 authorized adults -- employees or volunteers who have responsibility for minors -- have completed face-to-face training. The University began live sessions last April to address an immediate need to train authorized adults who would be working with children at numerous summer camps and workshops at University Park and other Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth.

According to Cromwell, the online format greatly simplifies delivery of the training.

"It's much more accessible," she said. "Employees, volunteers and students will be able to take the training at their convenience, and we can accurately track all individuals who have been trained. Also, if the law or information changes at any time, we can easily make updates."

The program is part of Penn State's initiative to help ensure a safe community for children, with the goal of educating the University community about child abuse and reporting. The program is intended to move people from not only awareness of the issue but toward having the confidence to take action, Basso said.

The training is required for all University employees at every campus location, with the exception of Penn State Hershey Medical Center/College of Medicine, University Health Services and the client representation clinics of the Dickinson School of Law. Each of those units follow the policies and training appropriate to its own unique activities.

Penn State continues work toward meeting Freeh recommendations

The University today (March 26) provided another update on the progress being made in meeting most of the 119 recommendations spelled out in a report by the Freeh Group, a consultant group hired in November 2011 to conduct an independent investigation of the University's response to allegations of sexual abuse committed by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. 

Led by former FBI director and federal Judge Louis Freeh, the investigation identified 119 recommendations to improve Penn State's responses in the areas of safety and governance. To date, the University has implemented a majority of those recommendations, with a substantial portion being completed or in the works. The University intends to have all appropriate Freeh recommendations completed by the end of 2013.

Penn State officials have posted a complete status update here that provides changes and steps forward through March 21, 2013. Currently, 70.5 percent of the recommendations made by Judge Freeh have been accomplished. This includes recommendations that are categorized as “Ongoing/Continuous,” indicating that the University’s response and management of such matters will be ongoing.

University responds to Sandusky segment on Today show

The NBC TODAY show Monday (March 25) aired portions of a telephone interview from prison with former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in solitary confinement. The University has issued the following statement in reaction to the Today show segment:

"Jerry Sandusky's statements today continue to open wounds for his victims, and the victims of child sexual abuse everywhere. We have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. Penn State continues to take important steps, including the training of over 11,000 employees and volunteers on how to recognize and report suspected child abuse."

Becker named as first director of University ethics and compliance

Becker named as first director of University ethics and compliance

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Following a national search, Penn State has named Regis W. Becker as its first director of University ethics and compliance. In this role, he will oversee all compliance issues throughout the University and develop Penn State's first comprehensive program of institutional ethics.

Becker will report to the Legal and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees and to David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business.

"Regis Becker's range of distinguished experience in corporate compliance, security and law enforcement makes him the ideal person to implement and oversee clear, comprehensive and exemplary principles and procedures for the University," Penn State President Rod Erickson said. "As I noted when announcing this position, Regis will have oversight of compliance with all federal, state and local laws, as well as internal policies and external organization policies, while encouraging the highest ethical standards of conduct for those who represent the University and act on its behalf."

"I believe my capabilities will serve Penn State well as it works to strengthen its overall institutional commitment to integrity and transparency," Becker said. "The experience I have gained throughout my career provides me with a broad practical perspective and an in-depth understanding of the critical role that a robust ethics and compliance program can play in bolstering and sustaining an organization’s culture and values. I look forward to continuing my work as a compliance leader in service to this great institution."

Becker is currently chief compliance officer for PPG Industries, a global Fortune 250 company with headquarters in Pittsburgh. After joining PPG in 1992, Becker advanced through a series of corporate security and risk management roles to earn oversight of all global compliance efforts in 2009. He heads the company’s global ethics and compliance program, with responsibility for developing and updating a global code of ethics, oversight of related training and certification for the company’s nearly 40,000 employees, and supervision of compliance auditing and monitoring efforts. He also manages the company’s crisis response unit, which ensures PPG sets appropriate protocols and follows them to quickly mitigate external and internal threats and events.

His prior experience includes work as an FBI special agent, as a detective in the Allegheny County, Pa., district attorney's white-collar crime unit and as a corporate security director with Union Carbide Corp. and Praxair. A 1978 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement, Becker earned his juris doctorate from the Duquesne University School of Law in 1983.

Integrity monitor’s report updated; Penn State progress noted

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sen. George Mitchell, the independent third-party athletics integrity monitor for Penn State, today (March 1) issued his second quarterly report regarding the University's performance under the Athletics Integrity Agreement, which was entered into in August by the University, the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference as part of the consent decree imposed by the NCAA.

“This report continues to evidence Penn State’s ongoing commitment to integrity, responsibility and ethical conduct, as well as the significant progress that Penn State has made and continues to make since July,” said University President Rodney Erickson. “We still have more to do, but we’re gratified that Sen. Mitchell and his team recognize all that we have done and that we are committed to continuing these efforts, in full compliance with the consent decree and the Athletics Integrity Agreement.”

Mitchell's position as athletics integrity monitor was established by the Athletics Integrity Agreement, a document that contains a number of prescriptive measures designed to ensure Penn State continues to meet all applicable NCAA and Big Ten rules and standards of integrity.Part of these measures called for the recent hire of Julie Del Giorno as Penn State's athletics integrity officer. On an ongoing basis, Del Giorno will be responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of policies and practices within Penn State's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics that ensure compliance and ethical conduct.

Sen. Mitchell's team will continue its independent evaluation of Penn State's activities and efforts under the Athletics Integrity Agreement and the NCAA consent decree. Mitchell's five-year appointment as the University's monitor began in August, and a report outlining actions taken is produced on a quarterly basis. Mitchell's previous update was issued on Nov. 30.

The complete text of the report and information about actions Penn State has taken is available at www.dlapiper.com.

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