* Freeh blamed Paterno, others for cover-up
* Sandusky convicted of sexually abusing boys
By Dave Warner
PHILADELPHIA, July 16 The family of Joe Paterno,
angered by a report critical of the late Penn State head coach,
said on Monday it will conduct its own probe of the child sex
abuse scandal surrounding Paterno's assistant that has stained
the football legend's legacy.
Family members said they "are dismayed by, and vehemently
disagree with" findings in the report by former FBI Director
Louis Freeh that accused Paterno and other Pennsylvania State
University officials of failing to take steps for 14 years to
protect the children victimized by assistant football coach
Freeh, in the report commissioned by the Penn State board of
trustees, blamed them for conducting a cover-up to avoid
consequences of bad publicity that could upset donors and damage
the Penn State brand.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted last month of sexually abusing
10 boys over 15 years and faces up to 373 years in prison.
The Paterno family said it has asked its attorneys and
experts to conduct a comprehensive review of Freeh's report and
comments, and "we have also asked them to go beyond the report
and identify additional information that should be analyzed."
They said they asked Freeh to preserve all his records,
notes and other materials "as we expect they will be the subject
of great interest in the future."
"To those who are convinced that the Freeh report is the
last word on this matter, that is absolutely not the case," the
family said. "It is highly likely that additional critical
information will emerge."
Paterno's estate could be sued for damages by victims of
Sandusky's abuse, according to legal experts.
The scandal rocked the world of college sports with
Sandusky's arrest in November, and Freeh's report underscored
what it called callous disregard and inaction by Penn State
officials. It said they had known about allegations against
Sandusky since 1998, when university police investigated a
complaint of abuse but let him off with a warning.
There are calls for Penn State's highly regarded football
program to be penalized and for the taking down of a campus
statue of Paterno, who won more games than any coach in major
college football history.
A university spokesman said on Monday that neither the board
of trustees nor the Penn State administration had made a
decision on the statue.
Paterno was fired by the board in November and died in
January of lung cancer.
"To claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a
pedophile is false," his family said in the statement.
The Freeh report said emails exchanged in 1998 and 2001
showed school officials discussed reporting allegations about
Sandusky to authorities. After speaking to Paterno, "they
changed the plan and decided not to make a report," Freeh said.
The Paterno family said it did not intend to duplicate
Freeh's efforts and would not make further comments until its
attorneys have an update on the progress of their investigation.
(Writing By Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Vicki Allen)