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Entries in Freeh report (3)

Sunday
Feb102013

Jerry Sandusky Scandal: Sue Paterno to Respond to Freeh Report

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sue Paterno, the wife of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and her attorney Wick Sollers are set to release their own findings about the report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh on the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that rocked the school's legendary football program.

"There have been many times, of course, when I wanted to speak out, but I needed time to deal with the loss of Joe and I believed also that this was a situation that demanded careful, thoughtful, objective analysis," Sue Paterno wrote in a letter to former Penn State players Friday. "The last thing Joe would have wanted is for me to become just one more voice making claims and assertions that were unsupported by the facts."

In a letter released Friday, Sue Paterno said the report, which was prepared by her attorney Wick Sollers, will be available along with additional information online at paterno.com.

"I am here to tell you as definitively and forcefully as I know how that Mr. Freeh could not have been more wrong in his assessment of Joe," Paterno wrote in the letter.

Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced last year to 30 to 60 years in prison after he was convicted of 45 criminal counts of sexually abusing young boys.

Sue Paterno said she was horrified and was in disbelief when she was first told of the allegations against Sandusky.

"These are children. Our lives have been about children.We have five children, 17 grandchildren. We worked around the players. Our lives are about children and making them better and not hurting them. So it's vile. It's probably the best word I could think of," Sue Paterno told ABC News' Katie Couric on her talk show "Katie."

In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno, who coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and became the winningest coach in Division 1 football history in 2011, was dismissed. Folllowing his dismissal, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and broke his hip. He died on Jan. 22, 2012, at the age of 85.

Released in July, the 267-page report by Freeh concluded that Joe Paterno and his superiors valued the football program and the image of Penn State more than they valued the safety of Sandusky's victims.

In the report, Freeh said the university had a "culture of reverence" for the football team "ingrained at all levels of the campus community."

"The motivation [was] to avoid the consequences of bad publicity," Freeh said at the time. "Bad publicity has consequences for the brand of Penn State University, the reputation of coaches, the ability to do fundraising. It's got huge implications."

At the time of the release, the Paterno family criticized the Freeh report and its portrayal of Joe Paterno, saying that the investigation was neither fair nor complete.

Sue Paterno’s response to the report and the Sandusky scandal are expected to confirm her "beliefs about Joe's conduct" during the situation and present "a passionate and persuasive critique of the Freeh report as a total disservice to the victims of Sandusky and the cause of preventing child sex offenses."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug222012

Penn State Freeh Report Assailed as 'Blundering' by School's Ex-President

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The legal team for the ousted president of Penn State University today assailed the "blundering" independent investigation that accused him of covering up the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.

Graham Spanier, who served as the school's president for 16 years, has not been charged with any crime, but an independent investigation conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh accused Spanier of failing to alert authorities that Sandusky sexually assaulted a boy in a locker-room shower.

Spanier has insisted that he was never made aware of the allegations that Sandusky had sexually molested a boy.

Two other school officials have been charged with perjury and failure to report abuse, and authorities have indicated the investigation is continuing, leaving a legal cloud over Spanier.

The scandal ended Spanier's tenure as the school's president and the Freeh Report damaged his reputation by faulting Spanier for failing to stop a "child sexual predator harming children for over a decade."

[FOR AN EXCLUSIVE ABC NEWS INTERVIEW WITH GRAHAM SPANIER, TUNE IN TO NIGHTLINE TONIGHT AT 11:35 P.M. EDT.]

Tim Lewis, a former federal prosecutor and ex-federal judge who reviewed the Freeh report's findings on Spanier's behalf, called the investigation's findings a "myth" and a "blundering and indefensible indictment" that would never hold up in court.

Lewis said the report was filled with "glaring oversights, indefensible exclusions... [and leapt] to conclusions with no basis except the biased opinion of the author."

"The irony is that while this report attempts to portray Dr. Spanier as having engaged in a conspiracy to conceal information, a closer inspection confirms that if anyone is guilty of concealment it isn't Dr. Spanier; it is Judge Freeh," Lewis said.

Lewis acknowledged that it was unusual for one former federal judge to criticize another former federal judge and added, "It pains me to say this," referring to scathing criticism of Freeh's report.

Freeh did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

Lewis insisted that had Spanier, a victim of child abuse himself and an expert family therapist, been appraised of Sandusky's crimes he would have reported them.

Instead Penn State officials told Spanier that Sandusky had only engaged in "horseplay" with a boy in the school's showers in 2001. The boy would later be identified as Victim 2, one of 10 victims police would later learn Sandusky had molested.

In July, Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of abuse against 10 boys.

"'Horseplay' was referred to over and over again, but never with any sexual connotation or suggestion of abuse," Lewis said.

Those comments echo Spanier's previous denouncements of the Freeh report.

"Had I known then what we now know about Jerry Sandusky, I would have strongly and immediately intervened," Spanier wrote in a July 23 letter to the Penn State board of trustees. "Never would I stand by for a moment to allow a child predator to hurt children."

Two of Spanier's former colleagues, Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Vice President Gary Schultz, face trial for perjury and failure to report abuse.

The charges stem from allegations that Curley, Schultz and Spanier never told authorities about the 2001 shower incident.

After the scandal broke, Spanier, who was president of the university from 1995 to 2011, was demoted to a professorship.

According to documents -- the Freeh report and testimony at Sandusky's trial -- Spanier learned in February 2001 that assistant coach Mike McQueary witnessed an incident between Sandusky and the boy later identified as Victim 2. During the trial, McQueary suggested that the incident was a rape of the boy.

Spanier, however, insists that he was never told the seriousness of the attack on Victim 2.

But the Freeh Report concluded that Spanier and his colleagues understood the gravity of the allegations against Sandusky, but chose to cover them up.

The Freeh allegations, Spanier claims, hangs on a tortuous game of telephone tag in which the story about the assault in the showers changed over time. By the time Spanier learned of the incident, it was described as "horseplay," he says.

McQueary first confided in his father and a family friend and physician Dr. Jonathon Dranov about what he saw. He then went to head coach Joe Paterno and told Paterno he witnessed activity of a "sexual nature."

Spanier contends that McQueary did not initially indicate a serious sexual assault had taken place. Had he done so, Dranov, as a family physician, would have been obligated to inform the police, Spanier claims.

"Judge Freeh does not mention this in his report. Nor does he mention that the jury acquitted Sandusky of this count. Most important, he doesn't mention or explain why he never even bothered to interview Dr. Dranov, even though he knew what he would have said. Yet he has the audacity to accuse Dr. Spanier of concealing important information," Lewis said.

Lewis also introduced a letter from Gary Gray, a former football player who met with Paterno in the days after losing his job and being diagnosed with cancer. Gray says Paterno told him a similar story in McQueary described what he witnessed in the showers as "horseplay."

Troubling, however, is a series of emails and conversations between Spanier, Curley and Schultz in 2001.

According to notes from a meeting dated Feb. 25, the three men agreed that they would ban Sandusky from bringing children on campus, inform the Second Mile children's charity which Sandusky founded, and alert the Department of Welfare.

However, between Feb. 27 and 28 after "talking it over with [head football coach] Joe [Paterno]," Curley emailed the men proposing they do not inform the authorities and instead try to get Sandusky "professional help," the Freeh report states.

Spanier agreed to that plan. However, he noted that by not bringing the accusations to police they would be "vulnerable for not having reported it."

When asked about this email today, Spanier's lawyer Jack Reilly, said only Spanier could explain them in context.

The sex abuse scandal rocked Penn State and its celebrated football program, leading to the dismissal of Paterno, Schultz and Curley and a demotion for Spanier.

Paterno died soon after losing his job. Based on the Freeh Report's findings, the NCAA stripped the school's football programs of its wins under Paterno.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul222012

Joe Paterno Statue Removed at Penn State

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Penn State University’s statue of legendary football coach Joe Paterno was removed from campus Sunday morning in the wake of an investigation that harshly criticized Paterno for failing to take action in the sex abuse case of his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson issued a statement shortly before the statue was removed that said, “Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location.”

The bronze statue, an image of Paterno running out of the locker room with his players in tow, was toppled onto its side and is being carried out by a forklift.

In response to the statue’s removal, Paterno’s family issued this statement: “Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State Community. We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth.”

The statement goes on to say that Paterno never had a hearing, and only selective evidence has been made public. The Freeh report, Paterno’s family says, is not the equivalent of a fair trial, although it has been accepted by the media as the definitive conclusion on the Sandusky scandal.

“It is not the University’s responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno. But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the Board and other key players is far from complete,” the statement reads.

Several fans of the late coach showed up with their rally cry, chanting, “We are Penn State.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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