NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – On Monday, a Penn State trustee called on the university governing board to re-examine the findings of former FBI director Louis Freeh’s school-sanctioned investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.
A critique released this weekend by Joe Paterno’s family raised “serious and troubling” questions about Freeh’s findings, trustee Alvin Clemens said in a statement.
Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh was among the experts brought in by the Paterno family to review the Freeh report, which concluded that Paterno and other university officials covered up allegations against Sandusky to spare the university bad publicity. The family’s review said the cover-up claims were inaccurate, were unfounded and equated to a “rush to injustice.”
“We began with a premise that any report like this has to have a sound factual basis — otherwise it’s just conjecture or guesswork,” Thornburgh told WFAN host Mike Francesa on Monday. “What we found was that in many respects, with regard to Mr. Paterno, the report was incomplete, inaccurate and speculative about his role.”
Freeh has defended his work and stood by his findings. He has called the Paterno family’s review self-serving and a campaign to shape the late Hall of Fame coach’s legacy.
Paterno died in January 2012 at age 85.
“The characterization of (Paterno) being basically involved in concealing or interfering with the Freeh investigation (was inaccurate),” Thornburgh told Francesa.
Freeh’s firm was hired by the board of trustees to perform “an independent, full and complete investigation of the Sandusky scandal,” said Clemens, a trustee since 1995. “In addition to questions about accuracy and fairness, there is little question that the Freeh report is less than complete.”
Penn State said Sunday that Freeh was brought in to conduct an independent investigation of the school’s response to the allegations, and not actions of entities unrelated to Penn State. Freeh offered 119 recommendations to strengthen governance and compliance, the majority of which have been implemented, the school said.
Freeh’s report has never been formally discussed by the board as a whole. At the time of its release, trustees said that they had accepted responsibility for failures of accountability.
“I saw no evidence whatsoever of an attempt by Mr. Paterno to conceal anything or interfere with the authorities in the university who were looking at this matter,” Thornburgh told Francesa. “…All I’m telling you is that I deal with the facts that are in the record, and there’s nothing in the record that indicates that he know of this investigation.
“I know Louis Freeh. He and I worked in the federal government together. He’s a good lawyer and a good investigator, which made it all the more surprising for me that there were so many holes in this report.”
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