Freeh's findings also implicated former administrators in university President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and retired Vice President Gary Schultz. Less than two weeks after the Freeh report was released in July, the NCAA acted with uncharacteristic speed in levying massive sanctions against the football program for the scandal.
"Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's childabuse," Freeh wrote in releasing the report.
The former administrators have vehemently denied the allegations. So, too, has Paterno's family, though a detailed counter-offensive began in earnest this weekend.
The family's findings said that Paterno never asked or told anyone not to investigate or report an allegation made against Sandusky 12 years ago, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2001.
Paterno also never asked or told anyone not to discuss or hide information reported by graduate assistant Mike McQueary about the 2001 allegation, the critique said, and followed university protocol in reporting information to superiors and left it to them to "to investigate and report as appropriate."
Thornburgh said he found the report at points to be inaccurate, speculative and fundamentally flawed about the role – if any – played by Paterno.
Appearing on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" program Sunday, Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers said it was too early to talk about legal action, though they were "evaluating all the legal options at this stage of the game."