The Record

Summary of Findings:

Dick Thornburgh


  • The Freeh report’s claim that it conducted a “complete” investigation is not accurate because, despite the fact that it supposedly conducted 430 interviews, Freeh investigators did not speak to most of the individuals who had the most relevant information, including Paterno. (Pages 5, 9, 13)
    • Freeh’s lack of access to the most critical witnesses calls into question the fairness, completeness, thoroughness and credibility of the findings in his report. (Page 17)
    • In addition, anonymous sources are often set forth as reliable evidence for critical conclusions in the report. Without an understanding of who actually made the statements, there is no way for a reader to weigh the credibility or reliability of witnesses or consistency of statements among witnesses. (Pages 14, 36)
  • The failure to conduct key interviews is all the more consequential because of the lack of relevant documents. Although the Freeh report claimed to have reviewed more than 3.5 million documents, it relies upon only approximately 30 documents, including 17 emails. (Pages 6, 13, 22, 25, 28, 31)
  • The Freeh Report fails to acknowledge that due to a University-wide computer system change in 2004, the vast majority of Penn State email dated prior to that is no longer available. As a result, most of the relevant documents could not be reviewed. (Pages 15-16)
    • Incredibly, considering the findings in the Freeh report are based substantially on fewer than 30 contemporaneous documents, it states that “the extensive contemporaneous documentation that (Freeh) collected provided important insights, even into the actions of those who declined to be interviewed.” In light of the broad and damning conclusions in the Freeh report, such statements are irresponsible and self-serving. (Page 16)
  • In addition to the specific allegations regarding the 1998 and 2001 incidents, several more findings about Paterno permeate the Freeh report. Many of those conclusions about Paterno also lack support and, as a result, raise significant questions as to their accuracy and credibility. (Page 34)
  • The fact that there is also no evidence that Mr. Paterno ever instructed any individuals not to discuss the 2001 incident further undermines the finding that Mr. Paterno conspired with others to cover up the 2001 incident. This lack of evidence supporting the report’s most scathing findings and the serious flaws with respect to the process of the Freeh investigation leads Thornburgh to conclude the Freeh report’s findings concerning Mr. Paterno are unjust and wrong. (Page 39)

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