Paterno family to release Freeh report rebuttal

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The Paterno family will release a rebuttal to the Freeh Report on Sunday, according to a letter from Sue Paterno made publicly available by former Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson. The family's rebuttal will be presented online at 9 a.m. on the website Paterno.com.

Mara Vandlik, the family spokesperson, did not immediately respond for comment.

According to the letter, the report was commissioned by Wick Sollers of the King & Spalding law firm in Washington D.C.

Sue Paterno wrote in the letter that the report would "unreservedly and forcefully" confirm her belief about her husband Joe Paterno's conduct in relation to the Sandusky scandal.

"The Freeh Report failed and if it is not challenged and corrected, nothing worthwhile will have come from these tragic events," she wrote.

She wrote that "Joe was exactly the moral, disciplined and demanding man you knew him to be."

The Freeh Report, commissioned by Penn State and costing $6.5 million, was released in July. Louis Freeh and his team concluded that Joe Paterno, along with former athletic director Tim Curley, former president Graham Spanier and former vice president of finance Gary Schultz, covered up for Jerry Sandusky's child sexual assault crimes and exhibited a disregard for the welfare of his victims.

The Freeh Report specifically detailed two situations involving Mr. Paterno. First, in 1998, when Mr. Sandusky was accused of abuse but was not charged, the Freeh group uncovered an email in which Mr. Curley wrote that "Coach is anxious to know where it stands," regarding the investigation into Mr. Sandusky.

Mr. Freeh concluded that the email illustrated Mr. Paterno's knowledge of the incident. He had previously said, under oath, he had not heard of other possible crimes involving Mr. Sandusky aside from a 2001 incident.

The second situation involving Mr. Paterno in the Freeh Report stemmed from 2001, when former assistant coach Mike McQueary told him he had seen Mr. Sandusky engaging in sexual conduct in the Lasch Football Building showers with a young boy. The Freeh group featured an email exchange between Mr. Curley, Mr. Spanier and Mr. Schultz in which Mr. Curley wrote, "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday -- I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps." In a previous email chain, Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz had discussed reporting the incident to the Department of Welfare.

The Paterno family's report will not be the first counter to the Freeh Report. Former talk-radio personality John Ziegler has been outspoken in Mr. Paterno's defense, and in the fall, the Penn Staters For Responsible Stewardship released a critical analysis of the Freeh Report.

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Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com, Twitter @mdent05.


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