Federal judge tosses one count from Sandusky-related civil suit against Penn State

mdawson@centredaily.comNovember 7, 2013 

Penn State didn’t hire Jerry Sandusky to molest young boys.

That’s the conclusion a federal judge in Philadelphia reached this week in deciding to toss out one count from a civil lawsuit that Victim 6 from the Sandusky case brought against the university.

Judge Anita Brody dismissed the count of vicarious liability, which holds that a superior, such as an employer, can be held liable for a subordinate’s actions. Brody said case law in Pennsylvania has found time and again that child sex abuse is not one of those actions for which an employer is ultimately responsible.

“Although the complaint alleges that Sandusky exploited his employment with PSU in order to molest (Victim 6), (Victim 6) presents no facts that support the conclusion that this outrageous conduct was the kind that PSU employed Sandusky to perform,” Brody wrote in her opinion.

Penn State had asked the judge to dismiss that claim, saying the child abuse was beyond the scope of his employment.

Penn State also asked for the dismissal of one claim, that of civil conspiracy. But the judge denied that request.

However, Brody did allowed Penn State the right to ask for it again later on in the case.

Victim 6 was the young boy in 1998 who was forced to shower with Sandusky after a workout in a campus locker room. Police investigated the incident after the boy’s mother contacted police when she saw that his hair was wet, but the district attorney, the missing-and-presumed-dead Ray Gricar, did not prosecute the case.

The young man, who testified at Sandusky’s trial last summer, sued in January on the grounds of negligence, negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.

Sandusky was acquitted of the most serious count from the 1998 shower incident involving Victim 6, indecent assault. But the jury still convicted him on 45 of the 48 charges.

Sandusky has served a year of his 30- to 60-year sentence and is appealing his conviction to the state Supreme Court.

Penn State said last week that it would spend $59.7 million for the settlements reached with 26 men who claimed they were abused by Sandusky. It’s not known if Victim 6 is one of the 26, as the lawyers have declined to comment.

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