The Paterno family has released a statement in response to the announcement that Judge Louis Freeh’s report on his internal investigation of Penn State will be released Thursday.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, former FBI director Freeh and the Freeh Group announced a report detailing their findings during their internal investigation of the university would be released at 9 a.m. Thursday. A press conference will follow at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia, according to a release.
According to the statement released by attorney Wick Sollers on behalf of the Paterno family, the late former head football coach Joe Paterno supported the decision the Board of Trustees made in hiring the Freeh Group to investigate the Sandusky allegations.
“The hiring of the Freeh Group is the single most important action the Board of Trustees has taken,” the Paterno family said according to the statement. “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 recent leak of emails between Paterno and former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former university President Graham Spanier could cause people to draw conclusions about Paterno’s actions that are not necessarily true, the family said according to the release.
According to the emails obtained by CNN, a plan was set to notify the Department of Welfare and The Second Mile, Sandusky’s charity he founded for underprivileged children. But then, Curley changed his mind “after talking it over with Joe,” and the administrators decided they would go directly to Sandusky.
According to the family’s statement, Paterno testified truthfully when he was before a grand jury that was investigating the former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky who was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse on June 22.
“With respect to the email from Tim Curley which stated, ‘After giving it more thought, and talking it over with Joe yesterday - I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps,’ the media spin that this is proof of some sort of cover up is completely false,” the family said according to the statement. “When the facts come out, it will be clear that Joe Paterno never gave Tim Curley any instructions to protect Sandusky or limit any investigation of his actions.”
According to the statement, Paterno planned to hold a press conference revealing what he knew about the charges filed against Sandusky , but “University officials ordered him to cancel it.”
“When the Sandusky case exploded last fall, Joe's first instincts were to tell everything he knew. He assumed the University would want to hear from him, but he was never given the chance to present his case,” the family said according to the statement.
According to the statement, “As this situation unfolded, Joe cautioned everyone not to jump to conclusions. He believed that a rush to judgment and a disregard for due process would ultimately result in conclusions that would not stand the test of time. To be clear, he did not fear the truth, he sought it. As much as anyone he wanted to know exactly what Jerry Sandusky had done and he wanted to understand how it happened.
“Joe Paterno 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,” the family said according to the statement. “To claim otherwise is a distortion of the truth.”