STATE COLLEGE — Joe Paterno and his family didn’t have the chance to give the late Penn State coach’s side of the story to the team that Penn State hired to investigate the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the family said in a statement issued Tuesday.
The strongly worded statement came two days before the release of the report from former FBI director Louis Freeh, who was chosen by Penn State to look into the scandal. It also comes as emails exchanged between university administrators in 2001 were leaked to the press.
In the statement, the family says while Joe Paterno supported the hiring of the Freeh group to conduct an investigation, “recent events have raised questions about the fairness and confidentiality of the investigative process.”
Recent leaks to national media include an exchange of emails between former President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired senior administrator Gary Schultz related to the report of Jerry Sandusky naked in a shower with a boy in 2001.
Those emails leave the impression that the administrators were considering going to authorities but decided to choose a more “humane” option of talking with Sandusky. They also suggest that decision was made after Curley spoke with Paterno.
The Paterno family statement says while the source of the leaks isn’t known, it’s clear the release of select emails is “intended to smear Joe Paterno and other former Penn State officials.”
“Testimony from witnesses highly critical of Joe has been revealed. And purported conclusions condemning the culture of the football program have been widely disseminated. The (b)oard promised a fair, transparent and impartial process. These developments are a threat to their stated objectives,” the statement says.
The statement says that once the leaks started, the family reached out to the Freeh group “to review their findings and offer information that could help complete the picture. We were told we could offer responses to the publicly reported allegations, but the Freeh Group declined to confirm that these allegations are in the final report.”
The statement pinpoints several issues, including the email from Curley.
“When the facts come out, it will be clear that Joe Paterno never gave Tim Curley any instructions to protect Sandusky or limit any investigation of his actions,” the family’s statement said.
Read the full statement online at CentreDaily.com.
Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @AnneDanahy.