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Joe Paterno's Family Denies Freeh Report Findings

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Joe Paterno, left, talks with a Penn State football recruits' family on the sidelines before a football game against Iowa, in State College, Pa.
Joe Paterno, left, talks with a Penn State football recruits' family on the sidelines before a football game against Iowa, in State College, Pa.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Joe Paterno's family on Monday strongly denied the findings of a special investigator who concluded the late football coach and other top Penn State administrators concealed Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children in order to shield the school from bad publicity.

In a statement, the family said its lawyers will conduct their own investigation of the scandal.

"Our interest has been and remains the uncovering of the truth," the statement read.

The family characterized the 267-page report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was hired by the university board of trustees, as "yet another shocking turn of events in this crisis" and said Paterno, who died in January at age 85, did not knowingly protect a pedophile.

"We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed," the statement said. "Mr. Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations as if they were absolute facts."

Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted last month of 45 counts for abusing 10 boys.

Freeh, citing emails and handwritten notes, concluded that Paterno intervened to stop a plan by three top Penn State officials to report a 2001 allegation against Sandusky to child-welfare authorities.

The report also cited two emails that showed that Paterno knew about a 1998 allegation.

Freeh said Paterno and the other three officials, including ousted Penn State President Graham Spanier, exhibited "callous and shocking" disregard for child victims.

The Paterno family statement said the coach reported the 2001 allegation from graduate assistant Mike McQueary to his superiors.

"It can certainly be asserted that Joe Paterno could have done more. He acknowledged this himself last fall," the family statement said. "But to claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a pedophile is false."

Monday's statement was issued amid calls for the removal of the famed statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium. A university spokesman said Sunday there's been no decision on the sculpture's fate.

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