Following the release of the Paterno family’s critique of the Freeh Rport, a number of officials and organizations issued their own responses, as controversy continues to surround the rebuttal commissioned by the late coach’s family.
A demonstration in reaction to the issuing is in the works, Co-Founder and President of Road to Recovery, Inc. Robert Hoatson said.
Hoatson said a group plans to demonstrate outside the studios of the talk show “Katie” hosted by Katie Couric in New York today from 10:30 a.m. until the noon taping of the program, which Sue Paterno is set to appear on.
The demonstration will underscore the need to focus on recovery and healing of those affected by the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case, while the group also intends to carry signs that read “Sue and JoePa Let it Happen,” as well as “Penn State Victims are Focus, not JoePa Image.”
Founded in 2003, Road to Recovery, Inc. is geared toward working with sexual abuse survivors primarily through clergy, but its general mission is to point them in the right direction and “get them on a more solid footing as a human being.”
Hoatson further said the Freeh report “jibes right on target when sexual abuse is going on in any large organization,” such as the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts or Penn State. He acknowledged that Penn State commissioned former FBI Director Freeh for the truth to come out but said people are backtracking on this.
He added that the transactions and the millions of dollars the football program raked in took precedence over the welfare of children, as institutions in comparable situations pivot their efforts toward preserving their image.
“They are trying to repair or recover an image that never existed,” he said.
Paterno was assigned high moral standards and integrity, while there was general immorality going on, Hoatson said.
Hoatson further said he finds Paterno’s relatives’ efforts in trying to see their father’s image in a positive light understandable but, at the same time, maintains it is to their interest “to keep silent” on this because “it is clear it’s not the most positive portrait of Joe Paterno.”
In response to the Paterno rebuttal, the National Collegiate Athletic Association said it stands consistent with previously issued statements, which can be found on its website.
“We stand by our previous statements on this matter and do not have anything further to share at this time,” the organization said via email.
While he also deems the efforts of the Paterno family “understandable,” Christopher Anderson, executive director of MaleSurvivor, said in a written statement that it is “painfully obvious” that few survivors of sexual abuse are able to invest comparable resources into their healing as the Paterno family was able to devote to their private investigation.
He said the next step to reestablishing Paterno’s legacy will be to exert as much effort for the fight to end sexual abuse of men and women as the Paterno family has in “attacking the Freeh report.”
Anderson further said that, to date, “we are unaware of any specific actions the Paterno family has made to support the needs of the victims of Jerry Sandusky, or sexual abuse victims in general.”
Anderson finally added that neither the Freeh Report nor the Paterno family response has produced “a full picture of what happened at Penn State and in Centre County during the years that Paterno and Sandusky prowled the sidelines.”
Trustee Anthony Lubrano also released a statement in connection to the Paterno family challenge to the Freeh Report.
“I encourage everyone to read the report in its entirety as I am doing. To say anything more at this time would be irresponsible of me,” he said via email.
On behalf of the university, university spokesman David La Torre issued a statement, saying that it not “within the scope of Judge Freeh’s engagement to review the actions, motives or functions of entities outside of our university community.”
He cited that the Freeh Report entailed an internal investigation into Penn State’s response to the allegations of sexual abuse. He added that a majority of the Freeh recommendations have been implemented rendering the university “stronger and more accountable.”
“It is understandable and appreciated that people will draw their own conclusions and opinions from the facts uncovered in the Freeh report,” he said.