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Franco Harris resumes fight against Freeh report

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 9:24 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband
Anna Kournikova and Franco Harris at the Mylan WTT Smash Hits. Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review

STATE COLLEGE — Anthony Lubrano, an outspoken member of Penn State's Board of Trustees and a frequent lone wolf on the school's governing body, is pushing for access to files and other information that formed the basis of the controversial Freeh Report.

“I'd like to know who we interviewed,” Lubrano said. “I'd like to know if we have exculpatory evidence available to us that we chose not to use. I have a lot of questions, and in order to verify the truthfulness of his conclusions I need to execute my research responsibilities.”

Lubrano took part Friday in a panel discussion put together by former Penn State and Steelers great Franco Harris and his wife, Dana. The discussion followed a two-plus hour presentation that challenged everything from conclusions in the Freeh Report to the media coverage that followed a grand jury indictment of former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in November 2011.

Harris has assailed the board of trustees for firing coach Joe Paterno and not standing up for Penn State in the wake of the Sandusky indictment. He also has led the movement to bring about change on the board of trustees and clear Paterno's name.

“It's very important to me to know that Penn Staters know what's going on here,” Harris said, “to make sure they're very informed, because for over a year Penn Staters have been attacked and people would say things to them, make statements about Penn State and our people didn't have any information because no one out there was doing anything.”

Sandusky was convicted in June on more than 40 counts of sexually abusing boys. A month later Freeh's report concluded Paterno and three high-ranking school officials covered up for a pedophile to avoid bad publicity for Penn State.

Harris' group, which includes U.S. government analyst Ray Blehar and filmmaker John Ziegler, has thundered away at Freeh's findings.

Lubrano is trying take it a step further. He wants access to all evidence collected by Freeh's team since Freeh was hired by the board of trustees. Lubrano said Freeh had turned over evidence to Penn State as he was required to go after getting paid by the school.

Lubrano said Penn State's general counsel could block his access to Freeh's files by claiming it could harm the school.

Ted Brown said he will support Lubrano's efforts if he is elected to the board of trustees. Brown is running for one of three openings.

“Anybody that's objectively analyzed the Freeh Report says it's wrong,” Brown said. “Now there's some things there that are correct but the essence is incorrect.”

That belief is why Lubrano is going against the wishes of board of trustees members, who have resisted a comprehensive review of the Freeh Report.

“I am confident that if three more members are elected, our voice will be louder,” Lubrano said. “In the end the truth prevails. It may just take time.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.

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