Joe Paterno's family members "vehemently disagree" with findings of Jerry Sandusky report
Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, poses with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky during Penn State media day at State College, Pa., Aug. 6, 1999. / AP Photo
Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET
(CBS/AP) STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Joe Paterno's family strongly denies the findings of a special investigator who described the late coach as one of four high-ranking Penn State officials who covered up child sex abuse allegations against former assistant Jerry Sandusky.
In a statement Monday, the family says they "vehemently disagree" with the conclusions reached by a team of investigators led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.
Freeh's scathing report last week said Paterno and other university officials covered up for Sandusky to avoid bad publicity. It says administrators reversed a decision to report a 2001 encounter between Sandusky and a boy after the athletic director discussed it with Paterno.
"We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed," the family says in the statement. "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."
Sandusky was convicted last month of 45 counts.
The family has attorneys reviewing the Freeh report and says it is "absolutely not" the last word in the case.
(Watch the interview at left)
In 2001, Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant, told Paterno he saw Sandusky with a young boy in the football team shower. Paterno, in turn, alerted athletic director Tim Curley, who investigated the report along with university vice president Gary Schultz, who oversaw the campus police department. Curley and Schultz ultimately decided not to alert law enforcement or child welfare authorities.
Curley, who's on leave, and the now-retired Schultz, are awaiting trial on charges they lied to a grand jury investigating Sandusky and failed to report the McQueary complaint to civil authorities as required.
Freeh's report found that Curley, Schultz and university president Graham Spanier initially planned to report the 2001 shower incident to the state Department of Public Welfare only to back off after Curley had a conversation with Paterno. The three officials then agreed to tell Sandusky "we feel there is a problem" and offer him "professional help." The officials also agreed to report Sandusky if he didn't cooperate.
"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," Paterno told The Washington Post after the scandal broke, according to the report. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."
More than 430 current or former school employees were interviewed since November, including nearly everyone associated with the football program under Paterno. The Hall of Fame coach died of lung cancer in January at age 85, two months after being fired as coach following Sandusky's arrest, without telling Freeh's team his account of what happened.
The report concluded that "in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity," Curley, Paterno, Schultz and Spanier "repeatedly concealed critical facts related to Sandusky's child abuse" from the authorities.
"Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky's victims," the report says.
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