Former AG Thornburgh, Paterno team condemn Freeh report

by: Debra Erdley Updated:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is standing by the conclusions his firm reached in a university-commissioned investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, following a scathing review by a Paterno family-commissioned team of experts who concluded the Freeh Report was deeply flawed.

Paterno's family issued the 237-page report on the Internet Sunday morning. The report titled “Rush to Injustice,” attacked Freeh's conclusion that Paterno was part of an effort to conceal Sandusky's crimes against children and noted that Freeh's investigators failed to interview Paterno or any of the three Penn State administrators it alleged participated in the cover-up

Freeh, however, said Paterno was given an opportunity to talk with his investigators.

“During the investigation, we contacted Mr. Paterno's attorney in an attempt to interview Mr. Paterno. 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,” Freeh said in a statement issued Sunday morning.

Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, one of the leaders of the Paterno-commissioned team said the Freeh Report's conclusion that Paterno, the late Penn State football coach, participated in a cover-up of his former assistant's crimes against children was dead wrong.

He told ESPN that Freeh's report had three basic defects.

“It is incomplete, second it is full of inaccuracies and thirdly, it fails to reach the kind of conclusions that (Freeh) or I would have insisted upon from our investigators. Mush was overlooked. Much was misrepresented in the report,” Thornburgh said in an interview on ESPN's Outside the Lines.

In a press release Sunday morning the team, including Thornburgh, former FBI profiler Jim Clemente, Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers and Dr. Fred Berlin of Johns Hopkins University, concluded that “the allegation is false that Joe Paterno participated in a conspiracy to cover up Sandusky's actions,” and that there is no evidence to support the allegation that the football culture at Penn State was somehow to blame for Sanudsky's crimes.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.