More than a year after his passing, the family of the late Joe Paterno has officially launched their effort to clear his name.
On Sunday morning, the Paterno family released a new report that they say calls into question the legitimacy and accuracy of the controversial Freeh report, which concluded that Penn State's top leaders, including Paterno, failed badly in their responsibility to report what they knew about Jerry Sandusky's abuse of children.
That report formed the basis for the NCAA's historic and unprecedented punishment of the Penn State football program and went a long way toward tarnishing Paterno's legacy and reputation.
But the Paterno report makes the claim that Freeh overreached with his report, arrived at conclusions without having any evidence to back them up and unfairly targeted both Paterno and the Penn State football culture. The men behind the Paterno report (who, it should be noted, were hired by the Paterno family) concluded that the Freeh report was "factually wrong, speculative and fundamentally flawed."
"The Freeh report is a profound failure," said Wick Sollers, the Paterno family attorney. "It isn't a little wrong on the minor issues. It is totally wrong on the most critical issues. That the Board and the NCAA relied on this report, without appropriate review or analysis, is a miscarriage of justice."
Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, one of the men behind the investigation, added that he believed that, in the case of Paterno, the Freeh report amounted to "a rush to injustice."
Freeh, for his part, defended his work, and called the Paterno report "self-serving."
The full Paterno report can be read here.
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