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Paterno family to issue official statement

02/09/2013 1:51 AM ET
By Matt Hughes

Joe Paterno's wife is mounting a defense of her late husband. Sue Paterno announced a comprehensive response will be issued to the accusations made against the former Penn State football coach. 

As reported by the AP, Sue Paterno sent a letter on Friday to former Penn State players announcing the Paterno family will issue a response to the Freeh report Sunday at 9 a.m. on paterno.com. The Freeh report, issued in July 2012 and conducted by former FBI agent Louis Freeh, accused Joe Paterno and other university officials of covering up allegations of child sex abuse against long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. 

"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." Adding, "The Freeh report failed and if it is not challenged and corrected, nothing worthwhile will have come from these tragic events."

Joe Paterno was fired by the university in November 2011 just weeks after reports of the sex abuse scandal surfaced. In light of the findings of the Freeh report, the NCAA sanctioned Penn State with a four-year bowl ban, scholarship cuts and a $60 million fine. Additionally, 111 victories under Paterno were vacated.  

Many in the Penn State community believe there was an unfair rush to judgement against Joe Paterno. Former players, alumni and staff have maintained support for the former coach. Joe Paterno died in January 2012 of complications from lung cancer.

Follow Matt Hughes on Twitter: @hughesmatt

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