Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Members of Joe Paterno family 'vehemently disagree' with parts of Freeh report, plan own review

Louis Freeh addresses the media during a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 12, 2012. He released the findings of his investigation into the Penn State scandal.
Louis Freeh addresses the media during a press conference at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 12, 2012. He released the findings of his investigation into the Penn State scandal. CDT photo

Joe Paterno’s family members said Monday they will conduct their own review of the Freeh report, while calling into question the group’s findings.

In a statement, Paterno family members said they “vehemently disagree” with some of the report’s conclusions.

The family has instructed attorneys to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the report, and to request materials gathered by former FBI director Louis Freeh during the investigation.

The Freeh team’s report, issued Thursday, implicated Paterno and top university administrators in an effort to conceal allegations of child sexual abuse against Jerry Sandusky.

On Monday, family members of the late Penn State football coach said Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations in the findings as if they were “absolute facts.”

“We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed,” the statement said. “We believe numerous issues in the report, and his commentary, bear further review.”

The family has asked the Freeh group to preserve its records, notes and other materials developed during the investigation.

Family attorneys plan to review the material, but also to “go beyond the report and identify additional information that should be analyzed,” the statement said.

When asked who the family has hired to perform the review, spokesman Dan McGinn declined further comment.

Penn State spokesman David La Torre also declined comment Monday on the Paterno family statement. 

According to the Freeh report, Paterno knew of the 1998 criminal investigation into allegations against Sandusky, his longtime defensive coordinator.

The findings indicate Paterno was made aware of the investigation, followed it closely, “but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years, and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno’s.”

The investigation also found evidence that Paterno, former university president Graham Spanier and former top administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley concealed 2001 allegations against Sandusky.

Sandusky was convicted last month on 45 counts of child abuse.

In the statement Monday, the former head coach’s family again said Paterno didn’t shield Sandusky from any investigation or review.

They said the 1998 incident was “fully and independently” investigated by police and that Paterno “promptly and fully reported the 2001 incident to his superiors.”

“It can certainly be asserted that Joe Paterno could have done more,” the statement said. “He acknowledged this himself last fall. But to claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a pedophile is false.”

Family members said reviewing the report will be a “complicated and time-consuming exercise,” and added they will not make further comment on the process until their attorneys are ready to provide an update. 

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter

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