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Paterno family issues response to Freeh report

The SportsXchange

The family of Joe Paterno claimed that an investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case is not supported by facts.

A response to Freeh's July 2012 report was released Sunday by the legal team of the former Penn State football coach. The roughly 180-page document portrays Paterno as the victim of Freeh's "rush to injustice."

The Paternos hired former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and other legal experts to review Freeh's report.

"We conclude that the observations as to Joe Paterno in the Freeh report are unfounded, and have done a disservice not only to Joe Paterno and to the Penn State University community, but also to the victims of Jerry Sandusky and the critical mission of educating the public on the dangers of child sexual victimization," the report reads.

Freeh issued a statement later Sunday defending his report.

"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.

Freeh's report also implicated former university president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz.

Significant sanctions against Penn State were imposed less than two weeks after the Freeh report was released.

The sanctions included a four-year bowl ban, several scholarship cuts and 111 wins between 1998 and 2011 were vacated. Paterno no longer holds the record for most wins by a major college coach.

Sandusky, 69, was sentenced in October to at least 30 years in prison after being convicted for 45 criminal counts during the summer. Prosecutors claimed sexual assaults of boys occurred on and off campus, including the football building.

Sandusky was arrested in November 2011. Paterno was fired a few days later and died in January 2012 at age 85. Spanier resigned as president the day Paterno was fired, Curley was placed on administrative leave and Schultz retired.

The family claims that Freeh did not properly support its findings concerning Paterno's knowledge of 1998 and 2001 incidents that involved Sandusky.

They further claim that the entire Penn State community, including Joe Paterno, was "fooled" by Sandusky and his pedophilia.

"(The) Freeh report is deeply flawed in its investigative processes and methodology, in its access to information, and in its reasoning based on the record, and that ultimately it draws unreliable, unfair and incorrect conclusions as to Joe Paterno," the family's response stated.

Other findings made by the family concluded that Paterno:

---Never asked or told anyone not to investigate an allegation made against Sandusky on Feb. 9, 2001.

---Never asked or told former administrators not to report the 2001 allegation.

---Never asked or told anyone not to discuss or hide information reported by graduate assistant Mike McQueary about the 2001 allegation.

"Paterno reported the information to his superior(s) pursuant to his understanding of university protocol and relied upon them to investigate and report as appropriate," the family's response stated.

Freeh's team said it conducted 430 interviews and analyzed over 3.5 million emails. The family countered that the report relied on just 30 documents, including three notes written by Paterno, and 17 emails.

It also points out that Freeh's team interviewed Spanier but not Curley or Schultz. Freeh claims Curley and Schultz declined to be interviewed several times.

The three are awaiting trial on obstruction and conspiracy, among other charges. They have maintained their innocence.
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