NATION

Paterno's family pleads his case on 'Katie'

Comment
Decrease Increase Text size

Critics have said that Freeh's team didn't speak with key figures including Curley, Schultz and Paterno, who died in January 2012 at age 85. The authors of the emails referenced in Freeh's report, which included Curley and Schultz, were not interviewed by Freeh, the family's analysis said.

Spanier spoke to Freeh six days before the report was released July 12.

"They missed so many key people. They didn't interview most of the key players, with the exception of President Spanier, who at the last minute we brought in and interviewed at a time when frankly the report ... was pretty well all prepared," Thornburgh said on the video.

Freeh said he respected the family's right to conduct a campaign to "shape the legacy of Joe Paterno," but called the critique self-serving. Paterno's attorney was contacted for an interview with the coach, he said, and Paterno spoke with a reporter and biographer before his death but not Freeh's team.

Curley and Schultz also declined numerous requests for interviews, Freeh said. They have been facing criminal charges since November 2011.

Freeh on Sunday cited grand jury testimony by Paterno in 2011 in which Paterno said a graduate assistant relayed to him the 2001 allegation against Sandusky of a "sexual nature" with a child.

He referred to a key point in the July report in which he said Spanier, Schultz and Curley drew up a plan that called for reporting Sandusky to the state Department of Public Welfare in 2001. But Curley later said in an email that he changed his mind "after giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe," according to Freeh's findings.

Said Freeh on Sunday: "These men exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not even attempting to determine the identity of the child" in the 2001 allegation.

The Paterno family report said Freeh chose not to "present alternative, more plausible, conclusions" about Paterno's actions. Their attorney, Wick Sollers, responded Sunday that Freeh didn't take the time to read the family's critique, or address accusations of procedural shortcomings.

"A failure to consider the facts carefully is exactly the problem our expert analysis highlights," Sollers said. "Everyone, including Mr. Freeh, should take the time to study this report."

Sue Paterno had directed Sollers, to review Freeh's report and her husband's actions. Sollers brought in Thornburgh, as well as former FBI profiler and special agent Jim Clemente, described as a child molestation and behavioral expert.

Also brought in was Dr. Fred Berlin, a psychologist from Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine whose profile lists him as the founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic.

The analysis included interviews, including of Paterno before his death, as well as a review of documents and testimony and "information from our access to the lawyers for other Penn State administrators."

The Paterno family's analysis said Freeh's report turned into a platform for scapegoating Paterno rather than seizing on an opportunity to educate about identifying child sex abuse victims, and ignored "decades of expert research and behavioral analysis regarding the appropriate way to understand and investigate a child victimization case."

It said expert analysis showed Sandusky "fooled qualified child welfare professionals and law enforcement, as well as laymen inexperienced and untrained in child sexual victimization like Joe Paterno." The coach respected Sandusky as an assistant, but knew little about Sandusky's personal life, the analysis said, though Freeh's report "missed that they disliked each other personally, had very little in common outside work, and did not interact much if at all socially."

Penn State removed a bronze statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium on July 22. The next day, the NCAA in levying sanctions said Freeh's report revealed "an unprecedented failure of institutional integrity leading to a culture in which a football program was held in higher esteem."

The NCAA improperly relied on that report and never identified a rules infraction "based on Sandusky's crimes, much less an infraction by Penn State that implicated the NCAA's jurisdiction and core mission of ensuring competitive balance," the Paterno family report said.

A four-year bowl ban and steep scholarship cuts were included among the sanctions, while 111 wins between 1998 and 2011 under Paterno were vacated. It meant Paterno no longer holds the record for most wins by a major college coach.

Couric asked Paterno’s widow if her husband could have done more to protect the children harmed by Sandusky.

“Do I wish it hadn’t happened? I have sleepless nights. I pray for the victims, but Joe didn’t know. If he had he would have done something,” says Paterno.

  1. «
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. »

Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.

Recommended For You
comments powered by Disqus