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Joe Paterno Statement On 1998 Jerry Sandusky Investigation Contradicted By Freeh Report

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Joe Paterno stands on the field before a college football game between Penn State and Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill. on Oct. 22, 2011.
Joe Paterno stands on the field before a college football game between Penn State and Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill. on Oct. 22, 2011.

The 267-page report on Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal delivered by former F.B.I. director Louis J. Freeh indicates that former head football coach Joe Paterno and key university officials "concealed critical facts" about sexual abuse over the years.

Notable among the aspects of the report are the details of the handling of a child-sex abuse investigation against Sandusky in 1998. According to Freeh's report, Paterno was aware of the 1998 investigation and "failed to take any action." Freeh indicates that the decision makers at Penn State did not act in order to "avoid the consequences of bad publicity."

In an interview with Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post in January 2012, shortly before his death, Paterno denied having any knowledge of the 1998 incident.

The May 3, 1998 incident involved Sandusky showering with the 11-year-old boy identified as Victim 6 in the 23-page grand jury report made public at the time of Sandusky's initial arrest in November 2011.

"You know it wasn’t like it was something everybody in the building knew about," Paterno told The Washington Post. "Nobody knew about it."

Click HERE for the full report.

Contradicting Paterno's statements to Jenkins, Freeh's report indicates that Paterno along with former University President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz all knew of the 1998 incident yet didn't even talk to Sandusky after learning of it. Although he did not take action against Sandusky or notify the authorities, Paterno reportedly kept track of the situation. According to Freeh, Curley sent Schultz an email titled "Jerry" on May 13, 1998 asking "Anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands."

Sandusky admitted to police that he showered with Victim 6 a month after the incident, but denied any sexual activity. After the investigation, no criminal charges were filed.

According to another email included in report, Curley told Spanier and Schultz at some point between May and August of 1999 that Paterno gave Sandusky the option to continue to coach "as long as [Paterno] was the coach." Despite the offer, Sandusky retired in 1999. The 68-year-old Sandusky was arrested in November 2011 and convicted in June 2012 of 45 counts of child-sex abuse of 10 boys over the span of 15 years.

Freeh also confirmed a CNN report two weeks ago about an email in which Spanier, Curley and Schultz planned to tell the Department of Welfare of the 2001 incident involving Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in a PSU shower. After having a conversation with Paterno, Curley recommended that they offer Sandusky "professional help" and if he cooperated, then they wouldn't report Sandusky.

The Paterno family released a statement on Wednesday denying that late coach helped cover for Sandusky, insisting that he had been deceived.

 
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