The Record

Summary of Findings:

Dick Thornburgh


Thornburgh’s review found that the Freeh report’s conclusions about Joe Paterno were inaccurate, speculative, unsupported by the record and fundamentally flawed. He writes that the “lack of factual support for the Freeh report’s unfounded, collective conclusions and its numerous process-oriented deficiencies call into question the credibility of the entire report.” (Page 6)

The former Attorney General concludes that the Freeh report failed to provide any actual evidence for its broad allegation that Paterno was motivated to conceal Sandusky’s actions “in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity.” (Pages 20, 21, 23)

Thornburgh’s major findings include:

  • The Freeh report does not provide support for its claim that Paterno had any knowledge of key facts to support its findings. In fact, Freeh ignored contrary evidence that Paterno did not have such knowledge. (Pages 4, 25-29)
  • There is no evidence that Paterno acted to conceal information about Sandusky. In fact, the evidence is contrary to a cover-up. (Pages 4, 23)
    • Significantly, Freeh admits that there is no evidence of interference by Paterno or any University administrator with the 1998 investigation into allegations about Sandusky’s conduct. That does not prevent the Freeh report, however, from drawing the conclusion of a cover up. (Page 22)
    • Most significantly, the findings in the Freeh report about Paterno, particularly concerning his alleged concealment of 1998 and 2001 incidents involving Sandusky, are not supported by evidence. Instead, Freeh attempts to construct an unsubstantiated “collective guilt” among Paterno and three senior University officials. (Pages 13, 38)
  • The assertion that Paterno lacked empathy for children and/or victims of child sexual abuse is contradicted by his long history of dedication to the development of young people. Instead, Paterno’s professional dedication and charitable giving demonstrate that Paterno was deeply concerned about the welfare of children. “The Freeh Report’s conclusion that Mr. Paterno lacked empathy for the victims of Mr. Sandusky’s abuse is unfounded and offensive.” (Pages 34-35)

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