Paterno family lawyer blasts book on PSU scandal

FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2011 file photo, Penn State coach Joe Paterno stands on the field before his team's NCAA college football game against Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching, File)

April 18, 2012 5:23:08 PM PDT
The lawyer for the family of the late Joe Paterno has strongly renounced claims in a new book about the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State and Paterno's ouster as head football coach.

The book "Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and the Culture of Silence" was released this week, and authors Bill Moushey and Robert Dvorchak have done several interviews promoting the book.

A statement Wednesday from attorney Wick Sollers said that the book was attracting attention because of the use of "false and slanderous statements" about Paterno and that the authors placed a premium on speed over accuracy.

"To fully correct these errors and outright lies would take far more words than this slanderous account is worth," Sollers said in a tersely worded response.

Danielle Bartlett, a spokeswoman for the book's publisher, HarperCollins, declined comment to The Associated Press.

Sollers' statement took issue with the book's reporting about whether Paterno knew about a 1998 campus police investigation triggered by a complaint from a woman whose son had showered with Sandusky. Sollers said there was "indisputable evidence" showing Paterno was not informed about that investigation and that Paterno testified as much.

Sandusky, a retired assistant coach, maintains his innocence as he awaits trial on dozens of criminal counts following his arrest in November. School trustees ousted Paterno four days later, a move criticized by some former players and alumni.

The head coach testified before a state grand jury about a 2002 allegation against Sandusky that was passed on to him by a graduate assistant. Paterno fulfilled a legal obligation by relaying the accusations to his superiors, one of whom oversaw campus police.

Trustees have said Paterno had a moral obligation to do more, and have also cited a "failure of leadership" in severing ties with the coach. Paterno died in January at age 85, less than three months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.