The Record


King & Spalding


  • This Critique concludes, based on our interviews, including of Coach Paterno before his death, based on our review of documents and testimony, and, importantly, based on information 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 and Schultz, not to report the 2001 incident, and (3) Joe Paterno never asked or told anyone not to discuss or to hide in any way the information reported by Mr. McQueary. Joe Paterno 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 fact investigations. He has reviewed the Freeh report and concluded that its investigative methodology is flawed, that its factual findings are limited and incomplete, and that its observations as to Joe Paterno are unreliable and unfounded. In the former Attorney General’s own words, he concluded:
    • “The lack of factual support for the SIC’s inaccurate and unfounded findings related to Mr. Paterno and its numerous process-oriented deficiencies was a rush to injustice and calls into question the credibility of the entire Report.”
    • “In my opinion, the Freeh Report is seriously flawed, both with respect to the process of the SIC’s investigation and its findings related to Mr. Paterno.”
    • “When considered in the context of investigation ‘best practices,’ it is evident that the Freeh Report and many of its findings as they relate to Mr. Paterno are not accurate, thorough, fair or credible. . . . The process of the SIC’s investigation was deficient in numerous ways, including the failure to interview virtually all of the key witnesses and the reliance upon limited, ambiguous documents.”
    • “Perhaps most significantly, the findings in the Freeh Report about Mr. Paterno concerning his alleged knowledge of the 1998 incident and purported concealment of the 2001 incident were not properly supported.”
    • “This lack of evidence supporting the Report’s most scathing findings and the serious flaws with respect to the process of the SIC’s investigation cause me to conclude that the Report’s findings concerning Mr. Paterno are unjust and wrong.”
  • The Freeh report was oversold to the public. Penn State officials, the NCAA, and other bodies detrimentally relied on the Freeh report in a rush to judgment about Joe Paterno. The limitations of the investigation, which were numerous and fatal to fundamental fairness, were not adequately explained or understood before that rush to injustice solidified the false public narrative about Joe Paterno.
  • The Freeh report missed a critical opportunity to educate the public on the identification of child sexual victimization, and instead used the platform created by this scandal to sensationalize the blaming of Joe Paterno. The Freeh report ignored decades of expert research and behavioral analysis regarding the appropriate way to understand and investigate a child sexual victimization case. Mr. Jim Clemente is one of the leading former FBI profilers of child sex offenders, and himself a survivor of childhood sexual victimization. As Mr. Clemente bluntly put it:
    • “The SIC failed to properly factor the dynamics of acquaintance child sexual victimization cases into their investigation. Consequently, the SIC misinterpreted evidence and behavior and reached erroneous conclusions. Any investigation will reach the wrong result by using the wrong approach and by interpreting the facts through the wrong filter.”
    • “There is no other way to say it: on the most critical aspects of the Sandusky investigation, the SIC report is a failure. It does a tremendous disservice to Penn State, Joe Paterno, and the victims of Jerry Sandusky.”
  • Expert analysis shows that Jerry Sandusky was a “skilled and masterful manipulator,” who deceived an entire community to obscure the signs of child abuse, using a variety of proven techniques. Those techniques included: perpetuating an image as a playful “nice guy” who was a foster and adoptive parent with kids around him at all hours in all types of capacities, leveraging his position as a respected member of the community, and creating a children’s charity to legitimize his credibility in interacting with kids.

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