Penn State, The Second Mile and Jerry Sandusky have been sued by the young man who testified this summer he felt “violated” after the former defensive coach showered with him in a campus locker room in 1998.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia by Victim No. 6, who was 11 at the time of the shower incident that was reported by his mother. The incident was investigated but never prosecuted. According to the lawsuit, the young man continues to suffer from distress, humiliation and embarassment because Penn State and The Second Mile “turned a blind eye to Sandusky’s sexual exploitation” of him and other children.
The young man’s attorneys blasted Penn State, accusing former university officials of not reporting the 1998 incident and not having policies in place that would have kept Sandusky from one-on-one contact with young boys. They excoriated The Second Mile, too, saying the charity was Sandusky’s “hunting ground” to find young boys for his sexual gratification.
“The inadequate oversight, deliberate indifference, failure to report, and intentional concealment of Sandusky’s actions by Pen State contributed substantially to Sandusky’s ability to commit his criminal outrageous and depraved acts,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.
“Both institutions fostered a culture and/or code of silence that unduly influenced those within their respective ranks from revealing conduct of the nature of that committed by Sandusky from being reported and acted upon.”
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.
Penn State and The Second Mile did not comment on the accusations in the lawsuit.
“We are aware of the case brought today by Victim 6 against the university, and it has been referred to legal counsel,” university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said. “As this is an ongoing piece of litigation, we can’t comment further at this time.”
The lawsuit is the sixth civil suit against Penn State.
Dave Woodle, interim CEO of The Second Mile, said the charity’s lawyers will respond to the lawsuit through the court system.
The lawsuit said Sandusky continued contact with Victim No. 6 for many years after the shower incident, in which Sandusky told the boy he loved him, kissed him and hugged him, according to the suit.
The suit said the university gave Sandusky unfettered access to its facilities and had no policies in place to limit Sandusky’s unsupervised interactions with children from The Second Mile.
The suit went on to say that people at the university, like Dick Anderson, have seen Sandusky showering with young boys. Anderson testified at trial that it was common for coaches to shower with children.
The attorneys for the young man blamed the way Penn State’s officials’ internal response to the report about the 1998 incident, saying their conduct was “reckless and outrageous” and failed to protect children.
The attorneys cited cited evidence turned up by the Freeh Report, such as confidential notes then-university administrator Gary Schultz took down as he was told by then-university police chief Thomas Harmon about the shower incident. The attorneys said subsequent emails between Schultz and Harmon do not show either one planned to respond to it further, such as discussing the incident with Sandusky or reporting, to the the university’s human resources office.
The lawsuit criticizes the university police department’s investigation in 1998, saying the young man, who was 11 at the time, should not have gone through two interviews — one with police and a follow-up with police and a caseworker.
The suit accuses Penn State’s investigators of intimidating Victim 6. It also criticizes the use of an unlicensed therapist, John Seasock, whose evaluation of the boy contradicted the findings of his psychologist that Sandusky showed signs of grooming for sex abuse.
Schultz and two other former university administrators, Tim Curley and Graham Spanier, are facing perjury, obstruction of justice and other counts for what state prosecutors have said were their attempts to cover up the allegations against Sandusky. All three men have maintained that their clients are innocent.
Victim 6 testified at Sandusky’s trial in June, reliving the May 3, 1998, incident as something that was “icky” and “uncomfortable.” The day started as a short workout, after which Sandusky insisted they shower off.
Sandusky had a shower running for him, the young man testified, and tickled him, saying he was the “tickle monster.”
The young man said the last moment he remembered was Sandusky bear-hugging and picking him up the shower floor to rinse off soap.
“I remember seeing his chest hair next to my face,” he testified. He remembered thinking, “This is just ... this is icky.”
The boy’s mother called police after her son returned home and pointed out his wet hair.
Penn State and State College police set up a sting to record a conversation to hear Sandusky talk about it. That’s when Sandusky told the mother that he knew she would not forgive him and said “I wish I were dead.”
The young man told jurors that despite the shower incident, he kept in touch with Sandusky well after 1998, such as getting Penn State football tickets from Sandusky and even borrowing his car one weekend he was back in town.
The young man testified his opinion began to change about Sandusky once he began talking with investigators, which put him through “a lot of emotional roller coasters.”
Sandusky was acquitted of the most serious count from the 1998 incident, indecent assault, but convicted of corruption of minors, child endangerment and unlawful contact with minors.
Sandusky is in solitary confinement in the state prison in Greene County, serving a 30-to-60-year sentence. His attorneys were in court earlier this month asking for a new trial.