Skip to main content

FBI files document threats against Penn State coach Joe Paterno

By Carol Cratty, CNN
updated 5:57 PM EDT, Wed August 29, 2012
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program. Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program.
HIDE CAPTION
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • No charges were filed after FBI probes of threats against Paterno and others
  • FBI files on matters pertaining to Paterno total more than 900 pages
  • There was no mention of Jerry Sandusky in the files that were made public

Washington (CNN) -- The FBI investigated threats against the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his staff starting in the late 1970s and looked into harassing phone calls made to Paterno in 1995, according to the bureau.

Investigators looked into the threats but no charges were filed in the cases.

Penn State to give back trophies because of NCAA sanctions

The FBI files on matters pertaining to Paterno totaled more than 900 pages. But the FBI said Wednesday there was nothing in the files mentioning former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky or allegations of sexual abuse of children.

Sandusky, who worked closely with Paterno, was convicted in June on 45 counts of abuse spanning at least 15 years.

Many of the pages in Paterno's dossier deal with threatening letters sent to the coach, his staff, one of the team's players, and the player's mother starting in the late 1970s. The FBI said the person who sent the letters apologized and no charges were filed.

Paterno family wants to appeal Penn State sanctions

Another issue that was investigated was a series of harassing phone calls made to Paterno in 1995. The FBI said the person who made the calls was mentally handicapped and agreed to stop after being interviewed by the FBI. Once again no charges were brought.

The Washington Times obtained copies of the Paterno files through a Freedom of Information Act request. The FBI gave the paper 868 pages and withheld 44 pages for privacy or other reasons. CNN has not obtained a copy of the files but the FBI confirmed what is in them.

Paterno died of lung cancer in January. An independent review of Penn State's handling of reported sexual abuse by Sandusky was released July 12. A team headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh found that Paterno and other top school officials showed a "callous and shocking disregard for child victims."

The report faulted Paterno and the others for not taking action against Sandusky.

Penn State review recasts story of football hero Paterno

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT