It's out. The Paterno report, commissioned by Sue Paterno in an attempt to clear the name of her late husband Joe Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case was released on Sunday, and its results were as expected.
In a post on the Paterno.com website, the earlier Freeh report, which was an independent report by Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, a media release titled "A Rush to Injustice" calls the Freeh report "factually wrong, speculative and fundamentally flawed.”
The team assigned to create the new report -- and rebut the allegations against Joe Paterno -- included former Pennysylvania Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, former FBI profiler Jim Clemente, prominent Washington, D.C. Attorney Wick Sollers, and Dr. Fred Berlin, the director of The Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit. In summary, the media release said that the Freeh report "was a failure that does not meet the basic requirements of a thorough, objective and fair investigation."
Former FBI director Louis J. Freeh was hired on Nov. 21, 2011 and paid $6.5 million by Penn State University trustees -- who had earlier fired Paterno after 46 years as head coach -- to conduct an inquiry into the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case. Freeh and his team interviewed over 430 people and reviewed more than three million documents in preparing their 267-page report (errata).
The Freeh report was released on July 12, 2012. It report concluded that along with former university president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz, Joe Paterno covered up allegations that Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator for Penn State, sexually abused young boys.
The Paterno family, and in particular, his widow, Sue Paterno, immediately rejected the report's results, and four days after its release, instructed their lawyer to form a "group of experts" to conduct their own review of the facts behind the Sandusky case.
The new report attacks Freeh in almost every way, including his methodology, investigative abilities and choices, disclosures and independence.
In a one-page statement released Sunday after the unveiling of the Thornburg report, Freeh defended own report, saying that "emails and contemporary documents from 2001 show that, despite Mr. Paterno's knowledge and McQueary's observations, four of the most powerful officials at Penn State agreed not to report Sandusky's activity to public officials."
He also called the new report "self-serving," and pointed out that Paterno declined a chance opportunity to speak to Freeh's investigators. "Although Mr. Paterno was willing to speak with a news reporter and his biographer at that time, he elected not to speak with us. We also asked Mr. Paterno's attorney to provide us with any evidence that he and his client felt should be considered. The documents provided were included in our report."
The Thornburg report said it concluded the following ten key points:
- No evidence exists that Paterno concealed critical information about Sandusky.
- Paterno, "based on a review of all available evidence, including discussions with attorneys representing Curley, Schultz and Spanier, made no attempt to hide any information, hinder or impede any investigation or limit the number of people who were informed of" one the key incidents in the Sandusky scandal.
- No evidence exists that a desire to avoid bad publicity ever motivated Paterno.
- The Freeh report "ignored decades of expert research and analysis of the appropriate way to understand and investigate a child sexual victimization case. Consequently, the Freeh report missed a tremendous opportunity to educate the public regarding the behavior of 'nice-guy' acquaintance child molesters."
- Freeh's investigators "produced a report that fit their expectations despite contrary evidence or a more reasonable interpretation."
- The Freeh report was "oversold to the public, and Penn State officials, the NCAA and other bodies detrimentally relied upon it. The limitations of the investigation, which were numerous and defining, were not adequately explained or understood."
- That Sandusky was an exceptionally effective manipulator and deceiver. One of the most respected child sexual victimization experts in the world concluded that Paterno, like many others, "did not recognize Jerry Sandusky as a child molester after the 2001 incident."
- Freeh investigators were severely limited in their access to vital documents and critical witnesses. "These limitations, which were understated or ignored in the report, call into question the legitimacy of the entire report."
- The Freeh report is "uniformly biased" against Paterno and its authors "ascribe motives to people they never met or interviewed and interpret ambiguous documents with a clarity and decisiveness that is impossible to justify."
- The Freeh report does not follow a typical standard of courtroom examinations and independent investigations -- the consideration of a person's lifetime record of "moral conduct and altruism." It treats Paterno's long life "as if it were irrelevant to the case." The Thornburg report called this a "major flaw."
It is hard to see how the Thornburg report could be independent, said ESPN host John Kincade on his Sunday morning radio show. "You get what you pay for," he said, noting that Sue Paterno and the Paterno family paid for the report, alleging that there was little way the Thornburg report could come out with negative results for Joe Paterno.
On the other hand, the Freeh report, although commissioned by the Penn State Board of Trustees, was extremely negative in its results or the school, which was slammed by the NCAA after its own investigation.
Meanwhile, fellow ESPN host Freddy Coleman said the report was a waste of Sue Paterno's money. He noted it would "not change anyone's minds." Anyone who felt Paterno was guilty of misconduct would discount the new report as biased, and those behind him would use it as further ammunition.