Paterno family says Penn State email release smears coach

NEW YORK Mon Jul 2, 2012 9:13pm EDT

Signs and flowers are seen at the statue of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, before the annual Spring football scrimmage in State College, Pennsylvania April 21, 2012. Paterno died on January 22, 2012. REUTERS/Pat Little

Signs and flowers are seen at the statue of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, before the annual Spring football scrimmage in State College, Pennsylvania April 21, 2012. Paterno died on January 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Pat Little

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The family of Joe Paterno on Monday said the name of legendary Penn State football coach is being smeared by the selective release of emails relating to a sex abuse investigation, and called on investigators to release all emails in the matter.

"The public should not have to try and piece together a story from a few records that have been selected in a calculated way to manipulate public opinion," the family said in a statement.

Paterno, the legendary head coach who won more games than any major college coach, was fired from Penn State last November following the arrest of Paterno's long-time assistant, Jerry Sandusky, who was charged with preying on young boys he met through charity he founded for disadvantaged youth.

University officials said at the time that Paterno, who was never charged with a crime, should have more forcefully intervened when he learned of the accusations years earlier.

Paterno died this year at the age of 85.

Last month, a jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 child sex abuse charges. Former athletic director Tim Curley and former finance official Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury and failing to alert authorities to one act of abuse by Sandusky.

One of the star witnesses in Sandusky trial, former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, testified he had seen Sandusky abusing a young boy in a football locker room in 2001. He reported the incident to Paterno and campus authorities but neither police nor child protection services were informed.

An email, written by Curley provided to CNN, appears to suggest that Paterno, who is often described as a God-like figure at the university, had urged his colleagues not to report the incident to Sandusky's charity, the Second Mile, or to the state Department of Welfare.

"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps," Curley's email said, according to CNN.

In a statement, the coach's family said Paterno "abhorred the rush to judgment."

"Releasing these emails in this way is not intended to inform the discussion but to smear former Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno," the family said. "The truth is Joe Paterno reported the 2001 incident promptly and fully."

(Reporting By Edith Honan; Editing by Greg McCune and Cynthia Osterman)

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