Paterno family to release rebuttal Sunday to Freeh Report
Sue Paterno wipes tears from the face of one of her grandchildren as they leave "A Memorial for Joe" last January at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- It has been 15 months since the grand jury released its findings on Jerry Sandusky, leading to the firing of Joe Paterno, and seven months since the release of the Freeh Report and the removal of the Joe Paterno statue. Now, Sue Paterno writes, she will tell her family's side.
The Paterno family will release a rebuttal Sunday to the Freeh Report, according to a letter the coach's widow addressed to members of the Penn State Lettermen's club, an alumni group of former football players. The report will be posted at 9 a.m. on the website Paterno.com.
This Paterno report was compiled by Wick Sollers of the King & Spalding law firm in Washington, D.C., and a group of experts he consulted, according to the letter.
Mrs. Paterno wrote in the letter that the report would "unreservedly and forcefully" confirm her belief about her husband'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.
"Joe was exactly the moral, disciplined and demanding man you knew him to be" and "not once did I see him compromise his principles or twist the truth to avoid bad publicity or protect his reputation," she wrote.
The Freeh Report, completed by former FBI director Louis Freeh and commissioned by Penn State, came out in July, costing the university $6.5 million. Based on its findings, the Freeh group concluded that Paterno, along with former athletic director Tim Curley, former president Graham Spanier and former vice president of finance Gary Schultz, covered up for Sandusky's child sexual assault crimes to preserve the university's athletic reputation and exhibited a disregard for the welfare of his victims.
Paterno's actions were primarily analyzed by Freeh based on a series of emails between Schultz and Curley from 1998 and between Schultz, Spanier and Curley from 2001.
In 1998, Sandusky was investigated by the University Police Department for child sexual abuse, but the district attorney declined to press charges. In the time frame of the investigation, Curley emailed Schultz, writing that "coach is anxious to know where it stands." Freeh concluded Curley was referring to Paterno, who had previously said, under oath, he had no knowledge of any other sexual conduct of Sandusky involving boys aside from the shower incident in 2001 witnessed by former assistant Mike McQueary.
The Freeh Report featured a 2001 email exchange between Curley, Spanier and Schultz, which Freeh concluded was about the Sandusky shower incident at the Lasch Football Building. In that email, 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, Curley and Schultz had discussed reporting the incident to the Department of Welfare.
Many Penn State fans have criticized Freeh's claim of Paterno's involvement. Two major critiques of the Freeh Report already have been released: one by the group Penn Staters For Responsible Stewardship and one by Spanier's lawyer, Timothy Lewis.
Paterno's letter did not describe the contents of the report in specific terms. She said in addition to backing up her beliefs about her husband, it would present a "passionate and persuasive" critique of the Freeh Report.
First Published February 9, 2013 12:00 am