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Penn St trustee hopes to have findings by mid-May

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)

A Penn State trustee heading the board's inquiry into child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant football coach says he hopes the probe will be finished by the end of the academic year.

Kenneth Frazier leads the trustees committee that appointed former FBI director Louis Freeh to handle the internal investigation into the criminal charges against Jerry Sandusky. While Frazier said Freeh will have as much time as he wants, he added, ''I would hope that it would be done by the end of the academic year,'' The Star-Ledger newspaper of Newark, N.J., reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/sAkC5e).

Frazier, the chairman and president of pharmaceuticals giant Merck & Co. Inc., spoke Tuesday at a talk for business leaders in New York hosted by The Wall Street Journal. Representatives for Freeh and the trustees committee could not immediately be reached by The Associated Press for comment Wednesday.

Freeh was tapped by trustees to lead the investigation on Nov. 21, more than two weeks after Sandusky was charged.

Sandusky, 67, faces dozens of criminal counts for what a grand jury called a series of sexual assaults and abuse of 10 boys dating back to the 1990s in hotel swimming pools, in the basement of his home in State College, where the university is based, and in the locker room showers at Penn State, where he coached football until his retirement in 1999.

Sandusky waived his preliminary hearing on Tuesday, pleading not guilty and requesting a jury trial. He has acknowledged he showered with boys but says he never molested them. His wife has said he's innocent of the child sex abuse allegations against him, and his lawyer has said his accusers are just trying to cash in by making up stories.

Frazier said the trustees told Freeh he has ''free rein to do the right kind of investigation.''

But the trustees' investigation - along with the trustees themselves - have still drawn criticism. Among the most vocal critics are some members of the Penn State University Faculty Senate wary of Freeh's independence and fearful that trustees may cover up findings.

The trustees' investigative committee also includes a member of the Faculty Senate. President Rodney Erickson has said he would ask the trustees to provide more updates to the faculty.

Besides the trustees' probe and ongoing criminal investigation, Penn State also faces an investigation by the Department of Education. The NCAA has also set a Dec. 16 deadline for the university to respond to its own letter of inquiry, though the school isn't expected to provide complete answers because of the volume of investigations under way.

Tagged: Penn State

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