Family of Joe Paterno to Release Rebuttal to Freeh Report

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JANUARY 22: Candles, many burnt out, circle the statue of Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach, outside of Beaver Stadium in the early hours of January 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. The community was reacting to news that Joe Paterno, who is suffering from lung cancer and who was fired in November in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against a former assistant, was in serious condition. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Joe Paterno's family has released its own report that will refute the claims brought against the former Penn State football coach in the Freeh Report released last year.


UPDATE: Sunday, Feb. 10, at 9:10 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

The Paterno family has released their rebuttal to the Freeh Report, according to ESPN's Staff.

A report commissioned by Joe Paterno's family calls the July 2012 Freeh report that was accepted by Penn State trustees before unprecedented sanctions were levied by the NCAA against the school's football program a 'total failure' that is 'full of fallacies, unsupported personal opinions, false allegations and biased assertions.'

The Paterno family report, which targets nearly every conclusion and assertion the Freeh report made about Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, states that while former FBI director Louis J. Freeh has had an honorable past and good reputation, his investigation -- especially as it relates to Paterno -- relied on "rank speculation," "innuendo" and "subjective opinions" when it concluded that Paterno concealed facts about Sandusky in part to avoid bad publicity...

...The family's report attacks Freeh's conclusions, assertions, methodology, investigative abilities and choices, disclosures and independence.

For more details from the Paterno report, check out

---End of update---


Christopher Passante and Mike Dawson of the Centre Daily Times originally reported the Paternos intention on Friday, Feb. 8:

Sources close to the case said the counter report — upward of 180 pages — was commissioned by the Paterno family and will be released and discussed on the “Outside the Lines” program on ESPN at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

To refresh your memory, the Freeh Report was a 267-page document from former FBI director Louis Freeh that stated Paterno and Penn State officials hid allegations of child sex abuse involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In the second paragraph of the findings section, the report states that Paterno was among four people in a position of power at Penn State that "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities."

Days after the Freeh Report was released, the NCAA levied sanctions against Penn State that included a four-year bowl ban, $60 million in fines and vacating all of the school's football wins from 1998 to 2011. 

Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

The counter report, according to the Centre Daily Times, will call into question the way that Freeh gathered and reported his information:

The report is expected to challenge former FBI director Louis Freeh’s tactics, alleging that he ignored information during his investigation, sources told the Centre Daily Times. ...

The report was generated by a “national prominent team of experts,” one of the sources said, and discusses all of the Freeh charges point by point. The source said the report is “extremely comprehensive.”

Paterno was the winningest coach in college football history, with 409 victories on his resume, before the NCAA vacated 111 wins Penn State accumulated from 1998 to 2011. 

After coaching at Penn State for 62 years, including the 16 he spent as an assistant, Paterno, along with university president Graham Spanier, was fired on November 9, 2011 in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. 

Two months after being fired from Penn State, Paterno was hospitalized and passed away due to complications from lung cancer.

In the first full season of the post-Paterno era, Penn State hired Bill O'Brien as its new football coach. He led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record.