Another lawsuit has been added to the stack in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
On Aug. 18, a suit was filed in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, naming former Penn State assistant football coach Sandusky, the university and The Second Mile charity as defendants. It was recorded in that county’s prothonotary’s office Aug. 26.
The suit was filed by attorney Bret J. Southard, of Casale and Bonner, of Williamsport, on behalf of the plaintiff, referred to as “D.F.” in an effort to protect the identity of the alleged victim, who was a child at the time of the abuse.
Southard confirmed to the Centre Daily Times that his client represents a new case, not one of the ones previously brought forward after the scandal broke.
In the court documents, Southard tells a story of a boy who met Sandusky in 2004. He was just 8 years old. He participated in a variety of Second Mile programs over the next eight years.
It was in 2008 or 2009, the lawsuit states, that Sandusky “traveled to plaintiff’s hometown in Pennsylvania for the specific purpose of taking (him) on a shopping spree.” That trip involved buying the boy Nike pants, shoes and shirts. Southard also said it involved oral sex.
The date of the second incident named in the lawsuit was Aug. 30, 2008. The plaintiff’s attorney said Sandusky took the boy to the Penn State-Coastal Carolina University game.
The story in the court documents tells of a 12-year-old boy leaving the game early and being taken to Sandusky’s College Township house, where he was allegedly sodomized.
The case fits into the timeline of Sandusky’s documented abuses. It is around the time that the state Attorney General’s Office began its investigation in 2008, and the grand jury investigation that started in 2009.
The filing also alleges that the boy figures into the evidence confiscated from Sandusky’s home during the investigation, specifically as one of a number of The Second Mile participants on a list with check marks next to some of the boys’ names.
“There was such a mark next to plaintiff’s name. The (state police) then contacted (his) parents,” the documents read.
The Second Mile and Penn State are targeted, according to the suit, for negligence in failing to properly vet Sandusky before allowing him around children.
“Plaintiff was owed a duty to be protected from harm,” read the filing.
Moreover, the suit alleges an active conspiracy of silence that deliberately allowed Sandusky to continue his patterns of abuse.
“The collective silence of various individuals, in addition to all defendants, were overt acts committed. ... Said acts were committed with malice and with the intention that the welfare of children within (The Second Mile) and (Penn State) be endangered,” Southard claims in the filing.
The suit asks for $550,000 from the three defendants, plus punitive damages and interest.
Representatives from Penn State declined to comment on the case. Dave Woodle, the CEO of The Second Mile, said the charity is “aware of the filing and anticipate a lawsuit to be served.”
“We will address it consistent with how we addressed the other prior lawsuits,” he said in an email.
Woodle did not offer further details, and it was unclear which lawsuits he meant.
In January 2013, The Second Mile was sued in federal court by Victim No. 6 — how one of the young men victimized by Sandusky was referred to in court documents — for abuse he suffered in 1998 when he was 11.
A CDT article published in May about The Second Mile’s ultimately successful bid to transfer funds to Arrow Family and Child Ministries, of Houston, to continue programs noted that “all claims made by Sandusky victims have been settled or dismissed,” except for those brought by Victim No. 6.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of abuse. He is currently incarcerated at Greene state prison, two years into a mandatory 30-year sentence.