Jerry Sandusky Scandal: Sue Paterno to Respond to Freeh Report
(NEW YORK) — Sue Paterno, the wife of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and her attorney Wick Sollers are set to release their own findings about the report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh on the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that rocked the school’s legendary football program.
“There have been many times, of course, when I wanted to speak out, but I needed time to deal with the loss of Joe and I believed also that this was a situation that demanded careful, thoughtful, objective analysis,” Sue Paterno wrote in a letter to former Penn State players Friday. “The last thing Joe would have wanted is for me to become just one more voice making claims and assertions that were unsupported by the facts.”
In a letter released Friday, Sue Paterno said the report, which was prepared by her attorney Wick Sollers, will be available along with additional information online at paterno.com.
“I am here to tell you as definitively and forcefully as I know how that Mr. Freeh could not have been more wrong in his assessment of Joe,” Paterno wrote in the letter.
Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced last year to 30 to 60 years in prison after he was convicted of 45 criminal counts of sexually abusing young boys.
Sue Paterno said she was horrified and was in disbelief when she was first told of the allegations against Sandusky.
“These are children. Our lives have been about children.We have five children, 17 grandchildren. We worked around the players. Our lives are about children and making them better and not hurting them. So it’s vile. It’s probably the best word I could think of,” Sue Paterno told ABC News’ Katie Couric on her talk show “Katie.”
In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno, who coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and became the winningest coach in Division 1 football history in 2011, was dismissed. Folllowing his dismissal, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and broke his hip. He died on Jan. 22, 2012, at the age of 85.
Released in July, the 267-page report by Freeh concluded that Joe Paterno and his superiors valued the football program and the image of Penn State more than they valued the safety of Sandusky’s victims.
In the report, Freeh said the university had a “culture of reverence” for the football team “ingrained at all levels of the campus community.”
“The motivation [was] to avoid the consequences of bad publicity,” Freeh said at the time. “Bad publicity has consequences for the brand of Penn State University, the reputation of coaches, the ability to do fundraising. It’s got huge implications.”
At the time of the release, the Paterno family criticized the Freeh report and its portrayal of Joe Paterno, saying that the investigation was neither fair nor complete.
Sue Paterno’s response to the report and the Sandusky scandal are expected to confirm her “beliefs about Joe’s conduct” during the situation and present “a passionate and persuasive critique of the Freeh report as a total disservice to the victims of Sandusky and the cause of preventing child sex offenses.”
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