Ex-FBI chief Louis J. Freeh's Penn State report to be released Thursday | College football
A potentially explosive report into whether then-football coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials took steps to conceal that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was a child molester will be released Thursday — online for all to see, officials said.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A potentially explosive report into whether then-football coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials took steps to conceal that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was a child molester will be released Thursday — online for all to see, officials said Tuesday.
Attorneys for the university's deposed president, meanwhile, broke a months-long silence and denied suggestions Graham Spanier participated in a cover-up with the image of Penn State and its powerful and lucrative football program at stake.
The internal report by former FBI chief Louis J. Freeh is expected to reveal how the university treated Sandusky, Paterno's one-time heir apparent, after top administrators fielded complaints about his encounters with young boys more than a decade ago. It is also expected to cast light on how the Hall of Fame coach, who died in January, exerted control over the football program while Sandusky worked under him and after Sandusky retired.
And the report could influence how Paterno is remembered while affecting an ongoing NCAA probe into the school's conduct and the criminal cases against two Penn State administrators.
Freeh's spokesman said the report will be published online at 6 a.m. PDT Thursday. Investigators will hold a news conference an hour later in Philadelphia to discuss the report's findings and recommendations.
Paterno's family said in a statement Tuesday the late coach "did not cover up for Jerry Sandusky. Joe Paterno did not know that Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile. Joe Paterno did not act in any way to prevent a proper investigation of Jerry Sandusky. To claim otherwise is a distortion of the truth."
Sandusky, 68, was convicted last month on 45 counts of abuse involving 10 boys and awaits sentencing.
Paterno supported the decision by the board of trustees to hire Freeh to conduct a thorough investigation of the Sandusky allegations, but recent news leaks raised questions about fairness and confidentiality, the family said in the lengthy statement. It said the Freeh group turned down an offer for the family to respond to allegations after also asking to review the findings to prepare a response.
The winningest coach in major-college football, Paterno never got a chance to speak to the Freeh group before he died of lung cancer Jan. 22 at age 85.
"It is our firm belief that the report would be stronger and more credible if we were simply given a chance to review the findings concerning Joe Paterno in order to present the case he was never allowed to make," the family said.
Lawyers for Spanier denied he was ever told of any criminality by Sandusky. The lawyers were rebutting reports indicating Spanier, 63, who was interviewed by Freeh investigators Friday, might have tried to cover up the abuse.