The Paterno family is striking back at the Freeh report by releasing a their own findings titled “Critique of the Freeh Report: The Rush to Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno.”
In July, the Freeh report concluded the Penn State coach had placed the football team above the safety of children who were preyed upon by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. After the damning 267-page report came out, the Paterno family hired a Washington, D.C., law firm and a team of other high-level experts, including former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh to challenge the conclusion by former FBI director Louis Freeh.
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.
Joe Paterno died at the age of 85 on Jan. 22, 2012 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Some of the major finding’s of the Paterno family report include:
- The allegation is false that Joe Paterno participated in a conspiracy to cover up Sandusky’s actions because of a fear of bad publicity or for any other reason.
- There is no evidence to support the allegation that the football culture at Penn State was somehow to blame for Sandusky’s crimes. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh says that including such a claim, with no factual basis to support it, undermines the credibility of the entire report.
- Freeh’s failure to conduct interviews with most of the key witnesses is a glaring deficiency. In the 1998 incident, for example, Freeh’s investigators failed to interview at least 14 of the most important witnesses, including Curley, Schultz, the District Attorney’s office, the Department of Public Welfare and the University’s police department or its outside legal counsel. This pattern was repeated in the 2001 review. Having never talked with these individuals, the Freeh report still claimed to know what they did and why they did it.
- Freeh investigators did not have subpoena power, and no one testified under oath. Worse, witnesses were allowed to speak anonymously, something that would never happen in a legitimate legal proceeding.
- The conspiracy claim made by the Freeh report based on a string of three emails falls apart under scrutiny. Because of a technology switch in 2004, most of the Penn State emails for the time in question are not accessible. Moreover, there are no emails authored by Joe Paterno and none that he received. In fact, the emails referenced by the Freeh report show that Joe Paterno knew few details about Sandusky, that he acted in good faith and that he did what he thought was right based on what he knew at the time.
- The validity and thoroughness of the Freeh report was oversold to the public, leading to the report being accepted in full and without review by The Board of Trustees and the NCAA.
The Paterno family’s response to the Freeh report was officially released to the public at 9 a.m. on ESPN, “Outside the Lines”
A synopsis of the Paterno family report can be found by clicking here.
To read the full Paterno family report click here.
The full Freeh report can be found here.