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Critique of the Freeh Report

Critique of the Freeh Report

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Published by New York Post
The Rush to Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno
The Rush to Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: New York Post on Feb 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/15/2013

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C
RITIQUE OF THE
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After the Freeh Group, which had been retained as Special Investigative Counsel (“SIC”) bythe Penn State Board of Trustees to investigate the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal,released its report in July 2012, the Paterno family asked King & Spalding to conduct acomprehensive review of both the report and Joe Paterno’s conduct.
1
They authorized us toengage preeminent experts and to obtain their independent analyses as an essential part of thatreview. This Critique of the Freeh report, which incorporates and attaches those independentanalyses in full, sets the record straight. We conclude that the observations as to Joe Paterno inthe Freeh report are unfounded, and have done a disservice not only to Joe Paterno and to thePenn State University community, but also to the victims of Jerry Sandusky and the criticalmission of educating the public on the dangers of child sexual victimization.Dick Thornburgh, former Attorney General of the United States, and experts Jim Clementeand Fred Berlin, have each carefully examined the July 12, 2012 report prepared by Louis Freeh,and have each determined that the report is deeply flawed and that key conclusions regarding JoePaterno are unsubstantiated and unfair.This Critique summarizes their expert conclusions and describes the most glaring errors onwhich the Freeh report is based. As Dick Thornburgh explains, the Freeh report reflects animproper “rush to injustice.” There is no evidence that Joe Paterno deliberately covered upknown incidents of child molestation by Jerry Sandusky to protect Penn State football or for anyother reason; the contrary statements in the Freeh report are unsupported and unworthy of belief.As described in more detail below, there is no reason to believe that Joe Paterno understood thethreat posed by Jerry Sandusky better than qualified child welfare and law enforcementprofessionals. There is no evidence that Joe Paterno conspired with Penn State officials tosuppress information because of publicity concerns. And Joe Paterno’s testimony before thegrand jury in 2011 was truthful. As Messrs. Thornburgh and Clemente and Dr. Berlin have eachconcluded, the full story behind the tragic events involving Jerry Sandusky is not the one told bythe Freeh report.
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UMMARY OF
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OINTS
 
 
Joe Paterno’s last written words before his death focused on the victims of JerrySandusky. In a handwritten note, Joe Paterno emphasized: “Good side of scandal - it hasbrought about more enlightenment of a situation (sexual abuse of young people) in thecountry.”
 
The Paterno family directed King & Spalding to seek independent opinions of the Freehreport by experts in identifying and investigating child victimization and pedophilia, aswell as by experts in conducting independent and reliable internal investigations. Thoseindependent experts include the former top legal officer of the United States, AttorneyGeneral Dick Thornburgh; former FBI profiler and child molestation and behavioralexpert, Jim Clemente; and The Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicinephysician and psychologist, Fred Berlin.
 
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ii
 
King & Spalding’s Critique of the Freeh report, which incorporates the independentanalyses of these three prominent experts, concludes that the Freeh report is deeplyflawed and that its conclusions as to Joe Paterno are unfair and unsupported.
 
Each one of the Freeh report’s main observations about Joe Paterno is wrong: each iseither contradicted or unsubstantiated by the evidence. The authors of the Freeh reportchose not to present alternative, more plausible, conclusions regarding Joe Paterno’s rolein the events involving Jerry Sandusky.
 
This Critique concludes, based on our interviews, including of Coach Paterno before hisdeath, based on our review of documents and testimony, and, importantly, based oninformation from our access to the lawyers for other Penn State administrators, that(1) Joe Paterno never asked or told anyone not to investigate fully the allegations in 2001,(2) Joe Paterno never asked or told anyone, including Dr. Spanier and Messrs. Curley andSchultz, not to report the 2001 incident, and (3) Joe Paterno never asked or told anyonenot to discuss or to hide in any way the information reported by Mr. McQueary. JoePaterno reported the information to his superior(s) pursuant to his understanding of University protocol and relied upon them to investigate and report as appropriate.
 
Former Attorney General Thornburgh is an expert in conducting effective factinvestigations. He has reviewed the Freeh report and concluded that its investigativemethodology is flawed, that its factual findings are limited and incomplete, and that itsobservations as to Joe Paterno are unreliable and unfounded. In the former AttorneyGeneral’s own words, he concluded:
 
“The lack of factual support for the SIC’s inaccurate and unfounded findingsrelated to Mr. Paterno and its numerous process-oriented deficiencies was a rushto injustice and calls into question the credibility of the entire Report.”
2
 
 
“In my opinion, the Freeh Report is seriously flawed, both with respect to theprocess of the SIC’s investigation and its findings related to Mr. Paterno.”
3
 
 
“When considered in the context of investigation ‘best practices,’ it is evident thatthe Freeh Report and many of its findings as they relate to Mr. Paterno are notaccurate, thorough, fair or credible. . . . The process of the SIC’s investigationwas deficient in numerous ways, including the failure to interview virtually all of the key witnesses and the reliance upon limited, ambiguous documents.”
4
 
 
“Perhaps most significantly, the findings in the Freeh Report about Mr. Paternoconcerning his alleged knowledge of the 1998 incident and purportedconcealment of the 2001 incident were not properly supported.”
5
 
 
“This lack of evidence supporting the Report’s most scathing findings and theserious flaws with respect to the process of the SIC’s investigation cause me toconclude that the Report’s findings concerning Mr. Paterno are unjust andwrong.”
6
 

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