Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who led the investigation into Penn State University's handling of sex abuse complaints against one of its football coaches, is the keynote speaker Nov. 14 at this year's Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner in Sioux Falls.
Freeh concluded that Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, school President Graham Spanier and other top university officials concealed a 2001 sexual abuse allegation against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to protect Penn State's reputation.
Louis Freeh He will discuss that investigation at the 31st annual appreciation dinner at the Ramkota Inn Exhibit Hall. About 2,000 law enforcement officers, firefighters, military personnel and guests are expected for the event, with the proceeds going to help South Dakota Special Olympics, Children's Miracle Network, Ronald McDonald House, Muscular Dystrophy Youth Summer Camp, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Dakota.
"Mr. Freeh has put his name on an investigation that has national implications with Penn State University," said event co-chairman Bill Mickelson. "It's something that no community is immune from, that is the abuse of our children. I'm anxious for him to come and share his experience and give us some more insights into what happened."
Freeh also is expected to recount his work on other high-profile criminal cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the siege with the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, the Unabomber, and the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta.
Freeh "brings an incredible background and experience in law enforcement and can share some amazing experiences," said appreciation dinner co-chair Scott Abdallah, who has taken a lead in the event that his father, former state Sen. Gene Abdallah, once held.
His father still has his hands in the mix, "helping us behind the scenes," Scott Abdallah said.
Freeh will attend a private gathering with primary sponsors before the event at the law offices of Johnson, Abdallah, Bollweg & Parsons, LLP.
The annual appreciation dinner has raised more than $1.5 million for children's charities in South Dakota. Tickets for this year's event are sold out, Scott Abdallah said.
It is great to work with the attorneys at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah. They always provide excellent advice and service that is second to none.
The lawyers at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah are consistently ranked as the top business lawyers in the state. Our business can always count on them to aggressively fight for our rights and provide straight-forward advice on complex issues.
Lawyers from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah regularly participate in legal education by judging intramural student skills competitions; helping prepare our nationally competitive litigation skills teams; serving or leading the South Dakota State Bar's Law School Committee; and, from time to time , providing guest lecturers. The Law School is grateful for the generous participation of lawyers like those from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah.