The Paterno family is fighting to restore the legacy of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, flatly denying the allegations in the report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh that the legendary coach was complicit in a coverup of child sexual abuse by a former assistant coach.
"The Critique of the Freeh Report: The Rush to Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno," the report prepared by King & Spalding and released on paterno.com this morning, is described as an attempt to set the record straight with independent expert analysis examining the "most glaring errors on which the Freeh report is based."
"The Freeh report reflects an improper 'rush to injustice,'" the 238-page critique says. "There is no evidence that Joe Paterno deliberately covered up known incidents of child molestation by Jerry Sandusky to protect Penn State football or for any other reason; the contrary statements in the Freeh report are unsupported and unworthy of belief."
In their critique of the Freeh report, former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and experts Jim Clemente and Fred Berlin examined the Freeh report and found that the report is "deeply flawed and that key conclusions regarding Joe Paterno are unsubstantiated and unfair."
According to the critique, the Freeh report "uncovers little new factual information as to Joe Paterno and does very little to advance the truth regarding his knowledge, or more accurately lack of knowledge, of Jerry Sandusky's molestation of children."
Freeh called the critique a "self-serving report" that "does not change the facts."
Penn State, which commissioned Freeh to conduct the investigation, stood by the report and said it is moving forward with the 119 recommendations Freeh made.
"To date, the University has implemented a majority of those recommendations, which are helping to make the University stronger and more accountable," the school said in a statement today. "The University intends to implement substantially all of the Freeh recommendations by the end of 2013."
Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced last year to 30 to 60 years in prison after he was convicted of 45 criminal counts of sexually abusing young boys.
Some of the abuse occurred at the Penn State campus, and at least one incident was observed by a graduate assistant who said he reported it to Paterno. However, school officials did not report the allegations to law enforcement.
In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno, who coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and became the winningest coach in Division 1 football history in 2011, was dismissed.
The allegations of Paterno's involvement in a coverup came as a shock that reverberated beyond the Penn State campus, because of his reputation as a coach who valued character and academic achievement as much as winning.
Following his dismissal, Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer and broke his hip. He died on Jan. 22, 2012, at the age of 85.
Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, along with Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, and school vice president Gary Schultz are awaiting a hearing after they were accused of lying and concealing the sex abuse allegations against Sandusky.
Freeh Report Critique
Released in July, the 267-page report by Freeh concluded that Joe Paterno and his superiors valued the football program and the image of Penn State more than they valued the safety of Sandusky's victims.