(CBS News) Former FBI director Louis Freeh is releasing the results of his investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case on Thursday morning.
The Freeh report was commissioned by the Penn State University board of trustees in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Its mission was to answer the question: who knew what and when?.
From the moment the sex scandal broke back in November, the specter of a cover-up by high-ranking university officials hung over Happy Valley like a shroud. In response, the board of trustees hired Freeh, the ex-FBI director and former federal judge, who promised to conduct "a thorough, fair, comprehensive" investigation "without fear or favor."
To that end, over the last eight months investigators interviewed more than 400 people, uncovering emails that appear to raise questions about four former Penn State officials: president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley, vice president Gary Schultz and legendary football coach Joe Paterno. Specifically under investigation is the decision not to report Sandusky to authorities in 1998 and 2001. Curley and Schultz have subsequently been charged with lying to a grand jury; Spanier may be next. All have denied any wrongdoing.
More than anyone, Paterno's legacy hangs in the balance. He died in January of lung cancer at 85. On Tuesday, his family issued a lengthy statement disputing recent reports suggesting Paterno may have tried to protect Sandusky. It said, in part: "Joe Paterno did not know that Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile. Joe Paterno did not act in any way to prevent a proper investigation of Jerry Sandusky."
On Wednesday, the family did a bit more damage control, releasing a document, purportedly a future op-ed column written by Paterno less than a month before his death, in which he draws a very large line in the Sandusky scandal. "I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal," he wrote. "This is ... one of the best academic performing football programs in major college athletics. Those are the facts - and nothing that has been alleged changes them."
Penn State's board has already acted on five initial recommendations made by Freeh, including revising its policy overseeing the treatment of minors. But the big news will come this Thursday with the board finding out what exactly what Freeh discovered.