Jerry Sandusky victim sues Penn state
WARNING: May contain graphic content
The young man whose 2009 allegations of sexual abuse led to the Penn State scandal and criminal convictions of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is asking a court to find the university also at fault.
A lawsuit, filed Friday by the person known as Victim 1 at Sandusky's trial, said university officials made deliberate decisions not to report Sandusky to authorities.
It described their actions as "a function of [Penn State's] purposeful, deliberate and shameful subordination of the safety of children to its economic self-interests, and to its interest in maintaining and perpetuating its reputation."
The complaint was filed electronically in Philadelphia state court, Slade McLaughlin, a lawyer for Victim 1, told The Associated Press. The suit names no other defendants than the State College university.
Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 criminal counts for sexual abuse of 10 boys, both on and off campus. At 68, he awaits sentencing that will likely send him to prison for the rest of his life.
Victim 1 and his mother reported Sandusky to the boy's high school and the Clinton County child protective agency in November 2009. Their complaint triggered the state investigation that last year resulted in the criminal charges against Sandusky and two university officials.
Former Penn State administrator Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, who is on leave, were charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. Both deny the allegations and are expected to go on trial in January.
Famed football coach Joe Paterno was fired. He died last January.
In the lawsuit, Victim 1 is known as "John Doe C." The suit draws heavily from court testimony, grand jury investigations and Penn State's own investigative report, conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh. The report details how university officials handled the claims against Sandusky and Sandusky's behaviour.
University spokesman Dave La Torre said the school has no comment on the pending litigation.
"The university takes these cases very seriously," La Torre said adding that the current president and board "have publicly emphasized that their goal is to find solutions that rest on the principle of justice for the victims."
The suit claimed that a "special relationship" between Penn State and The Second Mile, a Sandusky-founded charity for youth, gave Sandusky a respectable public image and connections that enabled him to perform criminal acts.
It alleged "[Penn State] believed its reputation and economic interests would be adversely impacted if the public learned that a man closely associated with the school's football program was, in fact, a pedophile."
The Second Mile's future remains uncertain, subject to a legal dispute.
According to the lawsuit, Victim 1 met Sandusky about eight years ago, when the boy was 11 and a first-year participant in a camp sponsored by The Second Mile. In his second year, the boy drew Sandusky's attention and accepted invitations to spend nights at the coach's State College home and to attend professional sports events, the suit said.
Over a three-year period ending in 2008, the suit said, Sandusky assaulted the boy more than 100 times, including fondling and oral sex. The lawsuit claims Sandusky attacked "numerous victims over a span of 30 years," but noted that his criminal trial was limited to a 15-year period and 10 victims.
Following Victim 1's testimony, Sandusky was convicted of all six counts that related to him, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse for instances of oral sex.
The suit alleged negligence, fraudulent concealment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. It said Victim 1 has suffered physical and emotional injuries and will likely need medical and psychological help well into his future. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Another Sandusky accuser has filed a federal lawsuit related to the scandal and a second victim has filed a court notice that he will file complaint. Lawyers have suggested others may take legal action.