The family of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is firing back against the university, saying officials there rushed to judgment in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.
The family released a 238-page report Sunday morning that claims Paterno did nothing wrong in his handling of the case.
A lawyer for the Paterno family hired former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and a team of experts to review the Freeh Report, which claimed Paterno helped to cover up for Sandusky. They claim in the new document that the Freeh Report was factually wrong and fundamentally flawed.
“These conclusions are wrong. And they didn’t just get it wrong on minor issues, they got it wrong on the most critical issues,” said Wick Sollers, attorney for the Paterno family.
“First of all, it’s incomplete. Second of all, it is full of inaccuracies, and thirdly it fails to reach the kind of conclusions that he or I would have insisted on from our investigators when we were prosecutors,” Thornburgh said of the Freeh Report.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh defended his work in a statement that reads in part: “I stand by our conclusion that four of the most powerful people at Penn State failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”
FOX43 legal analyst Steven Breit said the new report’s claim that the Freeh Report wasn’t based on fact isn’t exactly accurate.
“If you look back at the Freeh Report, we have not only emails, we have grand jury testimony. And some grand jury testimony of Joe Paterno was not very helpful to him, where he basically said he was aware of a rumor but didn’t act upon the rumor,” Breit said.
Breit went on to say the new document does present a viable counter argument to the Freeh Report, and leaves how Paterno will be remembered up for interpretation.
“You have here a difference of opinion of what each side is portraying. The court of public opinion will be the ultimate determiner as to whether Joe Paterno’s legacy remains tarnished,” he said.