Newly unsealed records suggest iconic Penn State football coach brushed off victims 1976 claims, saying: I have a football season to worry about
A man testified that he told Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his coaching staff that he was sexually assaulted by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when he was 14 years-old but the coach ignored his claims, saying he had a football season to worry about, according to new court documents unsealed on Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.
The victim, identified in court records as John Doe 150, testified that Sandusky molested him in a shower while at a football game at Penn State. After requesting to speak with Paterno about the incident, Doe testified that he was specific about the sexual assault but Paterno brushed off the claims.
Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, I dont want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about? Doe told lawyers for Penn States insurer in a 2014 deposition.
Specifically. Yes I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted I said, is that all youre going to do? Youre not going to do anything else? Doe responded, testifying that Paterno just walked away.
The documents, which were ordered unsealed by Philadelphia judge Gary Glazer, contained details about claims Penn State assistant coaches saw inappropriate contact and sexual contact between Sandusky and a child in 1987 and 1988.
Sanduskys lawyer and Paternos family have denied the allegations.
The family of the deceased Nittany Lions coach continued to attack the suggestion that Paterno knew anything about Sanduskys conduct before 2001 in a statement issued on Tuesday through attorney Wick Sollers.
The materials released today relating to Joe Paterno allege a conversation that occurred decades ago where all parties except the accuser are now dead.
In addition, there are numerous specific elements of the accusations that defy all logic and have never been subjected to even the most basic objective examination. Most significantly, there is extensive evidence that stands in stark contrast to this claim.
The statement did not elaborate on the evidence.
Penn State president Eric Barron issued the following statement on Tuesday on the universitys website:
Penn States overriding concern has been, and remains, for the victims of Jerry Sandusky. While individuals hold different opinions, and may draw different inferences from the testimony about former Penn State employees, speculation by Penn State is not useful. We must be sensitive to all individuals involved, and especially to those who may be victims of child sexual abuse. It also makes it much more difficult for Penn State to create an environment where victims of sexual abuse feel comfortable coming forward and where students, faculty and staff feel protected in reporting wrongdoing.
Although settlements have been reached, it also is important to reiterate that the alleged knowledge of former Penn State employees is not proven, and should not be treated as such. Some individuals deny the claims, and others are unable to defend themselves.
Speculation also serves to drive a wedge within the Penn State community. I would ask that we remember our Universitys primary mission is to focus on research, education and service. Lets be respectful of other viewpoints and focus on our mission. The University is committed to ensuring our campuses are safe for children, and to ongoing prevention and education programs and research that contribute to a better society.
Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child molestation in 2012 and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison.