NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

February 9, 2013

In letter, Sue Paterno defends late husband

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Breaking more than a year of silence, Sue Paterno is defending her late husband as a “moral, disciplined” man who never twisted the truth to avoid bad publicity.

The wife of the former Penn State coach is fighting back against the accusations against Joe Paterno that followed the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Her campaign started with a letter sent Friday to former Penn State players.

She wrote that the family’s exhaustive response to former FBI director Louis Freeh’s report for the university on the Sandusky child sex abuse case will officially be released to the public at 9 a.m. Sunday on paterno.com.

Freeh in July accused Joe Paterno and three university officials of covering up allegations against Sandusky, a retired defensive coordinator. Less than two weeks later, the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions on the program that Joe Paterno built into one of the most well-known in college football.

“When the Freeh report was released last July, I was as shocked as anyone by the findings and by Mr. Freeh’s extraordinary attack on Joe’s character and integrity. I did not recognize the man Mr. Freeh described,” Sue Paterno wrote. “I am here to tell you as definitively and forcefully as I know how that Mr. Freeh could not have been more wrong in his assessment of Joe.”

The family directed its attorney, Washington lawyer Wick Sollers, to assemble experts to review Freeh’s findings and Joe Paterno’s actions, Sue Paterno wrote.

She did not offer details on findings in the letter, “except to say that they unreservedly and forcefully confirm my beliefs about Joe’s conduct.

“In addition, they present a passionate and persuasive critique of the Freeh report as a total disservice to the victims of Sandusky and the cause of preventing child sex offenses,” Sue Paterno wrote.

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