Paterno family makes plea for access to investigation documents

By Jim Boyle | May 20, 2014

Following three hours of testimony, members of Joe Paterno's family can now only wait for a Potter County judge's ruling on whether they can gain full access to all documents used in the investigation that led the NCAA to hand down one of the harshest ruling's in the organization's history.

Senior Judge John Leete will make his ruling at a later date, a decision that will go a long way toward determining the Paterno family's ability to continue its larger mission of having the sanctions reversed. Representatives from Penn State argued to keep the files sealed, saying that granting access would violate attorney-client privilege.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh was tasked by the Penn State Board of Trustees to conduct a full investigation into the university's handling of allegations that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had been sexually assaulting young boys on the college campus. Freeh's team reviewed millions of documents and e-mails and interviewed witnesses, ultimately presenting a report that stated, "It is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the University — Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse from authorities, the University's Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large."

Based on those findings, the NCAA ordered the school to pay $60 million in fines, vacated the school's wins from 1998 to 2011, banned from the postseason bowl games until 2015 and had scholarships capped. The last sanction has since been reversed, with the school being allowed to incrementally restore its full scholarship program.


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