Paterno's family blasts Freeh probe, vows its own

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 2:08 PM

Jeremy Roebuck

PHILADELPHIA - Joe Paterno’s family on Monday promised its own review day of his handling of sexual abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky, days after a highly critical report implicated the late Penn State head football coach in a cover-up.

Saying it "vehemently disagreed" with the findings of the university’s internal investigation, led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, the family insisted Paterno responded as well as he knew how when confronted in 1998 and again in 2001 with accusations involving his former assistant.

"The 1998 incident was fully and independently investigated by law enforcement officials," the family said in a statement released Monday. "It is also a matter of record that Joe Paterno promptly and fully reported the 2001 incident to his superiors."

Freeh’s damning report last week accused Paterno, former university president Graham B. Spanier and other officials of keeping quiet allegations involving Sandusky to avoid bad publicity.

In a series of e-mails cited in the report, university Athletic Director Tim Curley advised dropping a plan to report Sandusky to authorities in 2001 after discussing the matter with Paterno.

"Mr. Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations as if they were absolute facts," the Paterno family statement said. "We believe numerous issues in the report, and his commentary, bear further review."

The Paternos said they have asked Freeh’s investigators to preserve all records, notes and other materials related to their investigation and have asked their attorneys to begin looking for additional information that might be relevant to clearing his name.

"To those who are convinced that the Freeh report is the last word on this matter, this is absolutely not the case," they said.

Penn State officials, meanwhile, said late Sunday that they had made no decisions regarding the iconic statue of the late head coach positioned outside of Beaver Stadium, where the university’s football team plays its home games.

University trustees acknowledged that they have received pressure to take down the sculpture, since the release of Freeh’s scathing report.

Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sex abuse. Paterno died of lung cancer in January.


)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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