Thursday, August 30, 2012

Joe Paterno and the Freeh Report

The media narrative is running far in front of the known facts. Powerline has several excellent posts:

The case against Joe Paterno: Weak to non-existent on the current record

I am aware that a consensus exists that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acted improperly in connection with Penn State’s response to allegations of child molestation committed by one-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. This consensus led to the removal of a statue of Paterno, whose contributions to Penn State as a coach and financial contributor were enormous.

The consensus emerged from the report of Louis Freeh regarding Penn State’s actions related to the sexual abuse committed by Sandusky. But a friend of mine — a top-notch lawyer and former federal prosecutor — has carefully reviewed the Freeh Report. He concludes that the Report does not establish wrongdoing by Joe Paterno. Having now looked at the Freeh Report, I agree.

The case against Joe Paterno, Part Two

Unfortunately, I suspect that the journalists and talking heads who reported that Freeh’s report contains new, damaging evidence regarding Paterno read only the first part of the report. Once one reads the actual evidence, I think it becomes clear that the case against Paterno remains (for now) what it was before Freeh started investigating — that he should have done more, not that he concealed misconduct out of a bad motive. The more damning case that Freeh wants to make is based on speculation, not evidence.

The Freeh report challenged

Twenty-nine former chairs of the Penn State faculty Senate have blasted Louis Freeh and the NCAA in connection with their actions in response to the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal. As to Freeh’s report, they state: “On a foundation of scant evidence, the report adds layers of conjecture and supposition to create a portrait of fault, complicity, and malfeasance that could well be at odds with the truth.”


CJinPA said...


I have followed this closely and read the report in its entirety. As a former Paterno admirer, it killed me to conclude that the general thrust is correct.

All you need to conclude are three points: 1. He knew about the 1998 allegation about Sandusky showering with boys. 2. He knew about the 2001 allegation that Sandusky raped a boy in the shower. 3. He knew that the school did not take action to stop Sandusky.

Once he knew about the first allegation, the second one should have stopped him in his tracks: "My assistant coach is a child molester." You just get accused of that twice, in unrelated, unpublicized cases.

I gave JoePA the benefit of the doubt as long as I could.

craig said...

So you place no weight on the point about he constraints placed on Paterno by legal proceedure and investigative technique?

" Furthermore, if Mr. Paterno had reported the McQueary information to me (were I, like Schultz, the official in charge of the University Police), I would have told him to keep his mouth shut going forward and let the authorities handle the matter. Otherwise, Mr. Paterno could have tainted the investigation. And, because he was a potential trial witness (to McQueary’s prior consistent statements, see Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(1)(B) and Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence613(c)), any further statements or action by Mr. Paterno could have become cross-examination fodder for the defense. Any further action by Mr.Paterno could only have damaged the integrity of the investigation and any prosecution against Sandusky."