Jerry Sandusky Scandal: Paterno Family Releases Critique of Freeh Report


In the report, Freeh said the university had a "culture of reverence" for the football team "ingrained at all levels of the campus community."

"The motivation [was] to avoid the consequences of bad publicity," Freeh said at the time. "Bad publicity has consequences for the brand of Penn State University, the reputation of coaches, the ability to do fundraising. It's got huge implications."

At the time of the release, the Paterno family criticized the Freeh report and its portrayal of Joe Paterno, saying that the investigation was neither fair nor complete.

Some of key points of the 238-page report released today include:

Joe Paterno's last written words before he died focused on Sandusky's victims. "Good side of scandal -- it has brought about more enlightenment of a situation (sexual abuse of young people) in thecountry," Joe Paterno wrote in a handwritten note, according to the critique.

Freeh report's observations about Joe Paterno are incorrect: "each is either contradicted or unsubstantiated by the evidence," the critique says.

Based on documents, testimony, and access to attorneys for Penn State administrators, Joe Paterno "never asked or told anyone not to investigate fully the allegations in 2001," never asked or told anyone, including Dr. Spanier and Messrs. Curley and Schultz, not to report the 2001 incident, ... never asked or told anyone not to discuss or to hide in any way the information reported by Mr. McQueary," and Joe Paterno "reported the information to his superior(s) pursuant to his understanding of University protocol and relied upon them to investigate and report as appropriate," the critique says.

Sandusky was a "'skilled and masterful manipulator,' who deceived an entire community to obscure the signs of child abuse, using a variety of proven techniques," according to expert analysis.

The Freeh report was "oversold to the public," according to the critique, which said it became the source that "Penn State officials, the NCAA, and other bodies detrimentally relied on the Freeh report in a rush to judgment about Joe Paterno."

The Freeh report did not allow "any meaningful opportunity for Joe Paterno, his representatives, or any neutral third party to assess or even respond to Mr. Freeh's opinions before he announced them as proven at a national press conference," the critique said.

Freeh's Response to the Critique of the Report

Freeh said today he respected "the right of the Paterno family to hire private lawyers and former government officials to conduct public media campaigns in an effort to shape the legacy of Joe Paterno."

"However, the self-serving report the Paterno family has issued today does not change the facts established in the Freeh Report or alter the conclusions reached in the Freeh Report," Freeh said in a statement.

Freeh challenged several points in the critique, including the criticism that investigators did not give Paterno an opportunity to answer the allegations against him in the report.

"During the investigation, we contacted Mr. Paterno's attorney in an attempt to interview Mr. Paterno. Although Mr. Paterno was willing to speak with a news reporter and his biographer at that time, he elected not to speak with us. We also asked Mr. Paterno's attorney to provide us with any evidence that he and his client felt should be considered. The documents provided were included in our report," Freeh said.

Sue Paterno's Response

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