Lawyers for the family of Joe Paterno say they will do their own investigation of the late Penn State football coach's involvement with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case, reiterating that they disagree with a report that concluded Paterno and others withheld information that could have prevented further abuse.
In a statement emailed to NBC News, the family said it was "dismayed" by parts of the report released last week by Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who conducted an investigation for the university in the Sandusky scandal.
The Freeh report concluded that Paterno and other university leaders "repeatedly concealed critical facts" relating to assistant coach Sandusky’s child sex abuse from authorities.
Paterno's family say they will not be issuing any further comment until they have done their own review.
Below is the family statement:
Following the release of the Grand Jury findings last fall, Joe Paterno called for a thorough, fair and transparent investigation. Like everyone else, Joe was stunned at the charges that were filed against Jerry Sandusky. At the same time, Joe cautioned against a rush to judgment on Penn State and its senior officials and reminded everyone that we owed it to the victims to uncover the full truth.
The announcement of the findings by the Freeh Group is yet another shocking turn of events in this crisis. We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed. Mr. Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations as if they were absolute facts. We believe numerous issues in the report, and his commentary, bear further review.
Our interest has been and remains the uncovering of the truth. We have never tried to run from this crisis or shift all responsibility to others. To help prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again at Penn State or any other institution, it is imperative that the full story be told.
After the report was released, we instructed our attorneys and their experts to conduct a comprehensive review of the materials released by the Freeh Group as well as Mr. Freeh's presentation and press conference. We have also asked them to go beyond the report and identify additional information that should be analyzed. And we have asked the Freeh Group to preserve all records, notes and other materials related to the investigation and the presentation of their findings as we expect they will be the subject of great interest in the future.
To those who are convinced that the Freeh report is the last word on this matter, that is absolutely not the case. Since various investigations and legal cases are still pending, it is highly likely that additional critical information will emerge. With that said, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate that Joe Paterno did not shield Jerry Sandusky from any investigation or review. The 1998 incident was fully and independently investigated by law enforcement officials. The Freeh report confirms this. It is also a matter of record that Joe Paterno promptly and fully reported the 2001 incident to his superiors. It can certainly be asserted that Joe Paterno could have done more. He acknowledged this himself last fall. But to claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a pedophile is false.
The process of reviewing the report and other relevant information is going to be a complicated and time consuming exercise. It took the Freeh Group roughly seven months to conduct more than 400 interviews and review three million documents. We do not expect or intend to duplicate this effort but we are going to be as thorough as reasonably possible. In the meantime, our attorneys have asked that we not make any further comment on this matter until they are ready to provide an update on their progress.
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