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U.S. Education Department to Investigate Penn State Scandal

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In this file photo, Penn State president Graham Spanier, left, and head football coach Joe Paterno chat before an NCAA college football game against Iowa in State College, Pa. (AP)

The U.S. Department of Education has announced an investigation into Penn State University's sex offense scandal over the school's compliance with crime disclosure policies.

Penn State football's former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, has been accused of molesting eight boys over 15 years.

The investigation -- to be carried out by the Office of Federal Student Aid -- will determine whether the school followed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and the Campus Crime Statistics Act, read a statement from the Department of Education.

Colleges and universities are required to disclose the number of reported criminal offenses each year on campus under the Campus Crime Statistics Act. Institutions also must issue timely warnings if a reported crime is a threat to the greater campus community, the statement read.

"If these allegations of sexual abuse are true then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse."

Penn State officials were notified of the investigation through a letter. The Office for Civil Rights will assess further investigations or enforcement actions if necessary.

The football team's 84-year-old head coach, Joe Paterno, has taken criticism since Sandusky was charged. Paterno announced Wednesday that he would retire at the end of the season.

Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have also been charged with failing to notify authorities after an eyewitness reported a 2002 assault.

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