Even with a jury of his peers convicting Jerry Sandusky more than a week ago of being a serial pedophile, the scandal that’s dominated headlines in and out of the world of college football since last November shows no signs of slowing down. At all.
As Ben wrote late last week, a CNN report detailed new emails exchanged among PSU administrators in 2001 suggesting there was a planned cover-up for Sandusky beginning 16 days after former Nittany Lions assistant coach Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky in the showers of an on-campus facility with a young boy.
The leak of emails and other information related to what looks, walks and talks like a coverup at the highest level of the Penn State administration has continued to erode the legacy of several former school officials, including iconic ex-head coach Joe Paterno. It was intimated in those emails obtained by CNN through unknown sources that Paterno had knowledge of the decision to not report the allegations made against Sandusky to authorities outside the university.
In response to that report the family of the deceased coach released a statement stressing that “Paterno warned against a rush to judgment in this case” and he “testified truthfully, to the best of his recollection,” referring to the coach’s eight-minute appearance in front of a grand jury early last year.
Three days later, the family has released another statement, condemning the “the leaking of selective emails over the last few days” and “calling on the Freeh Group and the Attorney General’s office to immediately release all emails and records they have related to this case.”
Here’s the statement, in its entirety.
With the leaking of selective emails over the last few days, it is clear that someone in a position of authority is not interested in a fair or thorough investigation. To be clear, the Paterno family does not know the source or sources of these leaks. The question that needs to be asked is why this breach of confidentiality, which seeks to preempt the Freeh report and undermine the courts, is not being objected to or otherwise addressed by those in a position of authority. It should not be the responsibility of the Paterno family to call for an honest, independent investigation. Given the seriousness and complexity of this case, everyone should be demanding the full truth, not just carefully selected excerpts of certain emails.
Releasing these emails in this way is not intended to inform the discussion but to smear former Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno. The truth is Joe Paterno reported the 2001 incident promptly and fully. He was interviewed by the Grand Jury for a total of 8 minutes and told the truth to the best of his recollection. He was never interviewed by the University. He was not afforded due process and his story was never fully told. And he was never allowed to see the files and records that are now in question. In spite of these facts, however, numerous pundits and critics are exploiting these disconnected and distorted records to attack Joe Paterno.
Accordingly, the Paterno family today is calling on the Freeh Group and the Attorney General’s office to immediately release all emails and records they have related to this case. The public should not have to try and piece together a story from a few records that have been selected in a calculated way to manipulate public opinion. Joe Paterno didn’t fear the truth, he sought the truth. His guidance to his family and his advisors was to pursue the full truth. This is the course we have followed for 9 months. It is the course we will follow to the end.
The Freeh Group is headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh and is charged with conducting the school’s independent internal investigation into the scandal. The full report is expected to be released later this year.
Sandusky was convicted last month on 45 count relating to the sexual abuse of 10 children over a 15-year period, some of which occurred on the Penn State campus and in the football building’s locker room and/or showers.
The school is bracing itself for a slew of civil lawsuits that have already been or will be filed in the not-too-distant future.