In a firm but gentle interview today on ABC, Katie Couric interviewed Sue Paterno and her children, Diana, Mary Kay, and Jay, both in studio, and pre-recorded from the Paternos’ famous home in State College. The interview/charm offensive comes a day after the Paternos released their official rebuttal to Louis Freeh’s damning July 2012 report on Paterno and Penn State. This is what Sue said when Couric asked her for her reaction to the Louis Freeh report:
[Joe] was what he was. What you saw is what you got. Man of integrity, honesty, he never let down in any of his moral values, his life was built on doing this thing the right way…and for Louis Freeh to say what he did…about Joe, I was in a state of disbelief.
Later on, the Paterno kids echoed her statements, endorsing their father’s character and repeating familiar anecdotes about his punctuality and his intolerance for lying. Couric’s hardest-hitting question revolved around an email sent in 1998 (uncovered in Louis Freeh’s July 2012 report) that strongly suggested Paterno was aware of a child abuse investigation into Jerry Sandusky. Sue and her lawyer Wick Sollers, who was in the audience, replied that the details of that email were less clear than Couric (and Freeh) suggest. A little less on-message, Sue also implied later that no matter what Joe knew he “wouldn’t confront” Sandusky during the periods in which the two no longer worked together.
Citing everyone in the Penn State community, including the Director of the Second Mile, who didn’t know Sandusky was a pedophile, Sue Paterno said at one point: “If the experts don’t know, how can we know?”