An investigation commissioned by Joe Paterno’s family concludes that the late Penn State football coach and icon did not attempt to hide any information or hinder any investigation related to the conduct of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts related to sexual misconduct with young boys.
The report, entitled “A Rush to Injustice,” is a compilation of individual reports by a team that included former Attorney General and Pennsylvania governor Dick Thornburgh, FBI profiler Jim Clemente, Washington attorney Wick Sollers and Dr. Fred Berlin, director of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit.
The report concludes that the Freeh Report, which was commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees, was “a failure that does not meet the basic requirements of a thorough, objective and fair investigation.” The analysis, which was released Sunday, describes the Freeh Report as “factually wrong, speculative and fundamentally flawed.”
According to Clemente, the Freeh Report “ignored decades of expert research and analysis of the appropriate way to understand and investigate a child sexual victimization case” and, thereby, failed Sandusky’s victims by not finding the truth. “The report misinterpreted evidence and behavior and reached erroneous conclusions,” Clemente said.
Thornburgh writes that, regarding Paterno, the conclusions of the Freeh Report are “based on raw speculation and unsupported opinion – not facts and evidence.”
The investigation says the allegation that Paterno participated in a conspiracy to cover up Sandusky’s actions, whether for fear of bad publicity or any other reasons, is false. It also says that the allegation that the football culture at Penn State was partly responsible for Sandusky’s crimes, a major basis of the NCAA’s unprecedented sanctions against Penn State and Paterno, has no factual basis and undermines the credibility of the entire Freeh Report.
There are currently lawsuits against the NCAA, including one filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, regarding the sanctions against Penn State.
The report said the Freeh Report was oversold to the public, resulting in acceptance by the Penn State Board of Trustees and the NCAA without being sufficiently reviewed.
Paterno died Jan. 22, 2012, nearly six months before the Freeh Report was finished. In the immediate wake of the Freeh Report, the NCAA vacated his wins dating back to 1998, removing Paterno as the career wins leader in Division I. Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium was taken down in the days before the NCAA announced its sanctions.
To read quotes by the members of the panel and link to their reports and the full media release, please click here.