STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Joe Paternos family released its response to Penn States report on the Jerry Sandusky scandal Sunday, attacking Louis Freehs conclusion that the coach hid sex abuse allegations against his longtime assistant.
In a report commissioned by the family, former U.S. Attorney General and Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh said the investigation by former FBI director Freeh resulted in a rush to injustice. That report, authorized by the university, found that Paterno and other school officials accused Paterno and three former administrators of covering up child sexual abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Those findings last July were unsupported by the facts, said the family critique released Sunday.
The lack of factual report for the inaccurate and unfounded findings related to Mr. Paterno, and its numerous process-oriented deficiencies, was a rush to injustice and calls into question the credibility of the entire Report, Thornburgh was quoted as saying in the familys analysis, posted on the website paterno.com.
Months in the making, the report was billed as an independent analysis of the work by Freeh, who defended his report Sunday.
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, he said in a statement issued through a spokesman.
The familys report concluded that observations related to Paterno in the Freeh report was unfounded, and were a disservice to Paterno, the university community and Sanduskys victims and the critical mission of educating the public on the dangers of child sexual victimization.
The central claim that Paterno was engaged in a conspiracy theres simply no basis anywhere in the report for that finding. That in my view renders the whole report of very little value, Thornburgh said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Theres simply nothing in this record, in the Freeh report, that indicates he was involved in any way.
Freehs findings also implicated former administrators in university president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz.
Less than two weeks after the Freeh report was released in July, the NCAA acted with uncharacteristic speed in levying massive sanctions against the football program for the scandal.
Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sanduskys child abuse, Freeh wrote in releasing the report.
The former administrators have vehemently denied the allegations. So, too, has Paternos family, though a detailed counteroffensive began in earnest this weekend.