STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A potentially explosive report into whether football coach Joe Paterno and other top Penn State officials took steps to conceal that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was a child molester will be released Thursday — online for all to see, officials said Tuesday.
Attorneys for the university’s deposed president, meanwhile, broke a monthslong silence and denied suggestions that Graham Spanier participated in a cover-up with the image of Penn State and its powerful and lucrative football program at stake.
The internal report by former FBI chief Louis Freeh is expected to reveal how the university treated Sandusky, Paterno’s one-time heir apparent, after top administrators fielded complaints about his encounters with young boys more than a decade ago. It is also expected to cast light on how the Hall of Fame coach, who died in January, exerted control over the football program while Sandusky worked under him and after Sandusky retired from coaching.
The report could also influence how Paterno is remembered while affecting an ongoing NCAA probe into the school’s conduct and the criminal cases against two Penn State administrators.
Freeh’s spokesman said the report will be published online at 9 a.m. Thursday. Investigators will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia to discuss the findings and recommendations in the report. The university trustees, who are meeting in Scranton on Thursday, said they will respond shortly thereafter.
“I think we’ll find that this thing revolves so tightly around Coach Paterno, and I would hope the Freeh report is much broader than that and addresses the university as a whole — and how this culture was handled or mishandled correctly — and comes to some closure on that,” trustee Ryan McCombie said.
“The people who loved Joe Paterno will still love him when this is over,” McCombie said. “The people who disliked him may feel they have ammunition to continue to dislike him.”