July 12th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

Paterno family's statement on Freeh report

The following is a statement from the family of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, following Thursday's release of an internal report criticizing Penn State's handling of child sexual abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky:

"We are in the process of reviewing the Freeh report and will need some time before we can comment in depth on its findings and conclusions. From the moment this crisis broke, Joe Paterno supported a comprehensive, fair investigation. He always believed, as we do, that the full truth should be uncovered.

"From what we have been able to assess at this time, it appears that after reviewing 3 million documents and conducting more than 400 interviews, the underlying facts as summarized in the report are almost entirely consistent with what we understood them to be. The 1998 incident was reported to law enforcement and investigated. Joe Paterno reported what he was told about the 2001 incident to Penn State authorities and he believed it would be fully investigated. The investigation also confirmed that Sandusky's retirement in 1999 was unrelated to these events.

"One great risk in this situation is a replaying of events from the last 15 years or so in a way that makes it look obvious what everyone must have known and should have done. The idea that any sane, responsible adult would knowingly cover up for a child predator is impossible to accept. The far more realistic conclusion is that many people didn't fully understand what was happening and underestimated or misinterpreted events. Sandusky was a great deceiver. He fooled everyone – law enforcement, his family, coaches, players, neighbors, University officials, and everyone at Second Mile.

"Joe Paterno wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he regretted them. He is still the only leader to step forward and say that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. To think, however, that he would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic. If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions.

"We appreciate the effort that was put into this investigation. The issue we have with some of the conclusions is that they represent a judgment on motives and intentions and we think this is impossible. We have said from the beginning that Joe Paterno did not know Jerry Sandusky was a child predator. Moreover, Joe Paterno never interfered with any investigation. He immediately and accurately reported the incident he was told about in 2001.

"It can be argued that Joe Paterno should have gone further. He should have pushed his superiors to see that they were doing their jobs. We accept this criticism. At the same time, Joe Paterno and everyone else knew that Sandusky had been repeatedly investigated by authorities who approved his multiple adoptions and foster children. Joe Paterno mistakenly believed that investigators, law enforcement officials, University leaders and others would properly and fully investigate any issue and proceed as the facts dictated.

"This didn't happen and everyone shares the responsibility."

More on this story:

Penn State leaders showed 'total disregard' for victims, review finds

Key players in Penn State report

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Filed under: College football • Crime • Football • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Pennsylvania • Sports
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Rascal Rabble

    i believe the claimants' response to these statements will be...you can talk to my attorney...

    July 12, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Outraged

      I hope they all rot in hell. While they are on this earth I hope they experience Hell.

      This is a disgrace to society.

      I hope none of those people ever have one moment of peace for eternity. They are horrible misserable low lifes. It doesn't get any worse than this.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. electedface

    As Attorney General, Tom Corbett received over $647,000 in campaign contributions from members of the Second Mile Foundation, while only assigning one investigator to the case.

    Meanwhile, at the same time, he assigned 14 investigators to Bill Deweese, who spent more than 5 years trying to get him.

    It is difficult to believe these campaign contributions did not improperly influence his decision to not file charges against Jerry Sandusky.

    The state police trooper who initially handled the Clinton County case against Jerry Sandusky believed there was enough evidence from a teenage boy - now known as Victim One– to charge Sandusky with indecent assault.


    July 12, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Corbett is dirty...and he should be investigated thoroughly...he is just as culpable as any of the players here...why he, who dropped the ball in 1998, should skate unscathed is beyond me!

      July 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karen Jourden

    They are very cunning I know. Everyone thinks they are good guys because of all the things they do but they are not.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Thaddeus

    I think this is just racism. If they were white peoples this wouldn't be going on.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. silkphoenix

    To the Paterno family, their family name is more important than the truth, even it has now all come out and they are still in complete denial! Everyone from the Governor to the top people of PENN State should all be held accountable and be investigated their roles in the cover-up. I don't care how many millions of dollars your sports program have brought in for PENN State, the welfare of any children should be the very first priority, period!

    July 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J. Dean

    Penn State football should be forever banned from the NCAA. maybe then these subhumans will take the first step on a very long journey of discovery as to how their inaction was only slightly less horrific than Sandusky's actions....why anyone would even want to go to this school anymore is beyond me....and Mr. Paterno, your legacy is done, take down the statue and any references to you at this school, it is beyond offensive...you went from being the legendary Joe Pa to a little troll, I truly feel bad for your family...I hope those alive that were responsible for the cover up get LONG jail sentences and can live some of the horror that Sandusky;s victims did

    July 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eloise

    I hope they put em all in jail. I think they knew what was going on and maybe didn't put a stop to it because they could maybe possibly be closeted Lesbeans.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PublicNightmare

    Looks like the Paterno family is following the tradition of Joe Paterno of circling the wagons to protect themselves. They are going to be facing some significant lawsuits. So, to some degree I understand WHY they are, but wasn't that the reason given to cover up the molestation to start with here? I wish he were here to face the music for what he did to those kids.

    The Paterno name is synonymous with "Protecting a monster". I hope they start calling this type of cover up "The Paterno Treatment". He deserves to have his name to continue on in this way.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leigh

      i agree they are circling the wagons, but I can't say I blame them. I would bet that Paterno's family had no idea about what he was covering up and more than anything don't want to believe that it is true. They are probably in shock and dismay and don't want to believe what is obviously the truth – he lied and he was an arrogant man who put football above children. I hpope they take down his statue and remove his name from Penn State so the school can move on.

      July 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cjred685

    Nothing for nothing but since Paterno was the head coach and ran the football program why did he allow Sandusky to continue to have access to the locker rooms/ showers with these young boys? If he had really wanted to do the right thing he should have followed up on what was being done and pursued it further when nothing was being done about stopping the abuse. If one of the victims had been his grandson don't you think he would have? Unfortunately he was more concerned over his "legacy" than these poor kids. No one will be able to talk about his so called legacy now without knowing that he protected this pedophile. As for his family's remarks, of course they are going to continue to defend Paterno in complete denial – that's what people do when they refuse to see the truth.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sckc

    Why does the Paterno family continue to speak out? It's really kind of pathetic.

    July 13, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • judy boyskey

      you are not a Penn State person . Paterno family was let down by this college . I will not forgive this college for this outrage . Victims ?? really .

      July 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • sirrahad

      Pathetic, agreed, but the Paterno family continues to speak out to protect their name and the estate they share.

      July 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. moca72

    looks like the Paterno family is still drinking the Paterno kool-aid....best believe his wife won't be enjoying a luxurious lifestyle once the lawsuits start piling up against the estate...that $5 million won't last long...

    July 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PSU fan no more

    Total denial. In their statement they say: "He [Paterno] should have pushed his superiors to see that they were doing their jobs." Paterno had NO superiors at PSU. He probably thanked God for his cancer, knowing that he would be lauded as a hero at this funeral, and would never have to be called as a prosecution witness, or, heaven forbid, a CHARACTER witness by the defense. Paterno got off easy. When PSU officials, Second Mile officials, Paterno family representatives, and Sandusky family representatives meet with the victims in the civil lawsuit, they should only ask one question: "How big to you want the check to be?"

    July 16, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. Charles Francis

    It is embarrassing to see the Paterno family spouting off trying to cover their behinds. Sandusky's behavior was not unknown to anyone remotely connected to the U Penn football program. They chose not to know about it– because of their self interest. Their attempt to blunt public revulsion at Joe's lack of moral fiber is pathetic.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |