UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State is asking a judge to stay the federal lawsuit filed by the young man who testified he felt “violated” when Jerry Sandusky forced him to take a shower in a campus locker room in 1998.
Penn State’s lawyers wrote in court papers earlier this month that the former university leaders who have been indicted on cover-up charges — Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz — are likely to be “critical witnesses” in the civil suit.
The lawyers said it would be “highly prejudicial” if the civil case from the young man known as Victim 6 proceeded at the same time as the cases against Curley, Schultz and Spanier.
The lawyers said they expect that the criminal case, which is being prosecuted by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, will not go to trial until 2014. The lawyers said some of the issues raised in the civil suit may be resolved in the trials for the senior university leaders.
Penn State’s request for a stay is no surprise, as the university has asked for and gotten stays on all civil suits brought by men claiming they were abused by Sandusky. To date, five suits have been stayed.
Penn State asked the judge for an extension of time to respond the suit’s complaints, and the judge granted Penn State an additional two weeks if the request for a stay is denied.
In the lawsuit, the attorneys for the young man said he suffers from distress, humiliation and embarrassment because Penn State and The Second Mile “turned a blind eye to Sandusky’s sexual exploitation” of him and other children.
The suit names Penn State, The Second Mile charity and Sandusky as defendants.
The civil lawsuit makes claims on the grounds of negligence, negligent supervision, premises liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress and a civil conspiracy to endanger children. It seeks at least $75,000 in damages.
“The inadequate oversight, deliberate indifference, failure to report, and intentional concealment of Sandusky’s actions by Penn State contributed substantially to Sandusky’s ability to commit his criminal outrageous and depraved acts,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.
The young man testified in June that when he was 11, Sandusky forced him to shower after a workout. His mother called police after noticing his wet hair, but the case was never prosecuted in 1998 despite an investigation by Penn State police.
At trial this summer, Sandusky was acquitted of the most serious count from the 1998 incident, indecent assault, but he was convicted of corruption of minors, child endangerment and unlawful contact with minors.
Sandusky is serving out a 30- to 60-year sentence in solitary confinement in the state prison in Greene County. His attorneys have notified the state’s Superior Court that they will seek a new trial after the trial judge denied their request.
The attorneys for Spanier, Curley and Schultz have said their clients are innocent and have vowed to fight the accusations in court.
Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial on perjury charges. The two men plus Spanier are awaiting a preliminary hearing on obstruction of justice and related charges.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.