The NCAA wants to know the names of the two men who claim they were abused by Jerry Sandusky in the 1970s and is assuring a judge that it’s important.
The NCAA is defending itself in a suit brought by the family of late longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. The estate claims the college sports oversight group defamed the man who helmed the program from 1966 until his firing in 2011 after the Sandusky story broke.
A key point is the NCAA’s acceptance of the findings of the Freeh report, the university-commissioned investigation of the Sandusky scandal, which placed blame on four Penn State leaders, including Paterno, who died six months before it was released. The NCAA then levied historic sanctions on the university, including stripping 110 wins from the Nittany Lions, dropping Paterno from first place in the leaderboard for most wins by a Division 1 coach.
But in new documents, the NCAA says it needs the information about the two claimants to refute the estate’s defamation claims.
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“The NCAA enjoys an absolute defense if those statements are true,” wrote attorney Thomas Scott.
The men in question were among the 32 claimaints who settled with Penn State to a total tune of $93 million.
The university tried to recoup money for those settlements from liability insurer Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, but PMA challenged that in court. The two men’s cases were revealed in an order by Philadelphia Judge Gary Glazer that referenced their cases, years earlier than the 10 Sandusky was convicted of in 2012. One said he told Paterno.
“To be clear, the NCAA has no desire to embarrass or harass the victims of this horrific tragedy — quite the opposite,” Scott wrote. “The NCAA simply seeks admissible testimony from the two victims, in any form, which can be obtained under any number of possible protections — including the robust protective order already in place.”
Scott brought up Glazer’s recent ruling on a request from media organizations to unseal the information as another justification to ask Potter County Senior Judge John Leete to agree. Glazer sided with the media organizations, including the Centre Daily Times, but while the release was ordered, he still gave a 31-day waiting period on the unsealing.
The case has re-ignited interest in the case, even while Sandusky, who still maintains his innocence, is pursuing a new trial.
A vocal supporter is openly critical of the two men’s accounts.
“Any remotely reasonable analysis of the circumstances and attorneys involved with the 1971 and 1976 allegations against Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno would immediately cause anyone to realize that the entire case is a huge fraud,” said radio host and documentarian John Ziegler. “What happened here was that fake accusers who were too old for a Penn State settlement and had no connection to the Second Mile had to lie about Joe Paterno to be eligible for free Penn State money.”