By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An investigation into Penn State University's role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal will be published on Thursday, and the family of late football coach Joe Paterno has questioned its fairness and confidentiality.
The head of the eight-month probe, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, said on Tuesday its report would be published online at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on Thursday. He will hold a news briefing at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania State University's trustees hired Freeh and his law firm to investigate the school's handling of explosive allegations involving Sandusky, a former assistant coach in the high-powered football program, and university officials.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted last month of 45 counts of child molestation involving 10 boys. Some of the sexual abuse took place at Penn State football facilities.
The charges involving Sandusky prompted the firing in November of university President Graham Spanier and head coach Paterno, who won more games than any other major college football coach. Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85.
At the heart of the Freeh probe is how Paterno and other Penn State officials reacted to allegations by Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant. McQueary told them in 2001 he had seen Sandusky in a sexual position with a boy in a football locker room, but neither police nor children's services were informed.
Former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a former university vice president, face charges of perjury and failure to report suspected abuse stemming from the alleged cover-up.
"TORRENT OF LEAKS"
Reacting to the upcoming release, Paterno's family said: "Unfortunately, recent events have raised questions about the fairness and confidentiality of the investigative process."
The probe had been marked by "a virtual torrent of leaks," with the release of "select emails intended to smear Joe Paterno and other former Penn State officials," the family said in a statement.
An email, written by Curley and provided to CNN, appeared to suggest that Paterno had urged his colleagues not to report the incident to Sandusky's charity or to the Department of Public Welfare.
The Paternos denied that Joe Paterno had told Curley to cover up the incident. They said they welcomed meeting with Freeh to review the findings and respond to them.
CNN reported last month that emails among Spanier, Curley and Schultz showed they feared they could be "vulnerable" for failing to report the incident.
Spanier's attorneys, Peter Vaira and Elizabeth Ainslie, said on Tuesday that he had denied knowing about the 2001 incident when Freeh's team interviewed him on Friday.
The online publication will be the first time anyone outside the probe has seen the report, including Penn State trustees, Freeh said in an emailed statement.
The trustees will meet on Thursday and Friday at the school's Scranton campus. The university said it would respond to the report once it was reviewed.
A court in Harrisburg will hold a scheduling conference for Curley and Schultz's trial on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Christopher Wilson and David Brunnstrom)