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Paterno family releases statement on Freeh Report

Mon 16th, July 2012

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The family of Joe Paterno released a statement Monday disagreeing with some of the results of former FBI director Louis Freeh's investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

Sandusky was found guilty last month on 45 of the 48 counts charging him with sexual abuse against 10 boys over a 15-year period and will likely spend the rest of his life in jail after he is sentenced later this year.

Paterno was fired last November after 46 years as Penn State's head football coach amid accusations he didn't do enough to stop the abuse. He died in January of lung cancer.

Freeh's report was released last Thursday, eight months after he was hired by Penn State's board of trustees to look into the university's response to the abuse case.

Paterno, in Freeh's report, was among many Penn State officials accused of concealing "critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from the authorities, the board of trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large."

Monday's statement from the Paterno family indicated that they will review Freeh's findings.

"Following the release of the Grand Jury findings last fall, Joe Paterno called for a thorough, fair and transparent investigation," the statement read. "Like everyone else, Joe was stunned at the charges that were filed against Jerry Sandusky. At the same time, Joe cautioned against a rush to judgment on Penn State and its senior officials and reminded everyone that we owed it to the victims to uncover the full truth.

"The announcement of the findings by the Freeh Group is yet another shocking turn of events in this crisis. We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed. Mr. Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations as if they were absolute facts. We believe numerous issues in the report, and his commentary, bear further review.

"Our interest has been and remains the uncovering of the truth. We have never tried to run from this crisis or shift all responsibility to others. To help prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again at Penn State or any other institution, it is imperative that the full story be told.

"After the report was released, we instructed our attorneys and their experts to conduct a comprehensive review of the materials released by the Freeh Group as well as Mr. Freeh's presentation and press conference. We have also asked them to go beyond the report and identify additional information that should be analyzed. And we have asked the Freeh Group to preserve all records, notes and other materials related to the investigation and the presentation of their findings as we expect they will be the subject of great interest in the future.

"To those who are convinced that the Freeh report is the last word on this matter, that is absolutely not the case. Since various investigations and legal cases are still pending, it is highly likely that additional critical information will emerge. With that said, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate that Joe Paterno did not shield Jerry Sandusky from any investigation or review.

"The 1998 incident was fully and independently investigated by law enforcement officials. The Freeh report confirms this. It is also a matter of record that Joe Paterno promptly and fully reported the 2001 incident to his superiors. It can certainly be asserted that Joe Paterno could have done more. He acknowledged this himself last fall. But to claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a pedophile is false.

"The process of reviewing the report and other relevant information is going to be a complicated and time consuming exercise. It took the Freeh Group roughly seven months to conduct more than 400 interviews and review three million documents.

"We do not expect or intend to duplicate this effort but we are going to be as thorough as reasonably possible. In the meantime, our attorneys have asked that we not make any further comment on this matter until they are ready to provide an update on their progress."

The university also issued a statement from president Rodney Erickson on Monday in regard to the report.

"The 267-page Freeh Report, while difficult to digest, was a necessary step in finding the truth and continuing our healing process as a community," Erickson said. "We must not be afraid to examine ourselves, our policies and our actions -- with the clear intent of taking corrective measures and righting the wrongs.

"...Although we cannot undo history, we can become agents for change and reaffirm our core values of honesty, integrity and justice. I promise you, we will learn from our past and take the steps that will allow us to emerge and grow into a stronger, better university.

"As we move forward, there are many decisions that must be made -- decisions that are not without consequences and must not be done without careful thought. Many of these decisions involve individuals and practices deeply woven into the fabric of our community.

"All of this will take time.

"Time to heal. Time to comprehend. Time to trust. Time to transform. Time to regain what has been lost, and time to move forward.

"...This is not the end of the process, nor will it be the end of a number of investigations or inquiries into the university. We will continue to cooperate fully with all agencies and will communicate these interactions with you, our community. We plan to analyze the many recommendations made in the Freeh Report and begin implementing a number of them as quickly as possible."

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