A young man who reported his story of sexual abuse at the hands of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has filed suit against the school alleging “university officials made deliberate decisions not to report Sandusky to authorities” because it would negatively impact the finances and reputation of the school and football program.
The man known as “Victim 1” and his mother filed charges in 2009 and the resulting investigation led to Sandusky’s arrest and conviction, Paterno’s firing, and extensive and unprecedented sanctions against the school by the NCAA.
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 behavior.
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.” NPR, 25 August 2012.
There are no other defendants names in the trial. Sandusky was convicted of 45 criminal counts of sexual abuse and is awaiting sentencing.