Penn State was rebuffed in another attempt to have a lawsuit filed by one of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse victims put on hold, and lawyers for The Second Mile charity went on the offensive to have the lawsuit tossed.
The developments were among a flurry over the past week in the case that has Victim 6 from the Sandusky trial suing Penn State, The Second Mile and Sandusky in federal court. The young man testified last summer that he felt violated when Sandusky forced him into a campus shower after a workout in May 1998.
Last week, federal judge Anita Brody refused to reconsider her previous decision to deny granting Penn State a stay on the lawsuit.
Penn State’s lawyers had unsuccessfully fought for a delay pending the criminal proceedings against former university leaders Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are finished. The three men are facing obstruction, perjury and related charges and are unlikely to cooperate with Penn State’s defense in the civil case, the university’s lawyers have said.
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In her latest ruling last week, Brody said Penn State did not present any “new grounds” to warrant a delay.
The young man’s lawyers, led by Baltimore attorney Howard Janet, have said their client has waited far too long for justice, and in her first order denying Penn State’s request for a delay last month, Brody agreed.
Penn State’s lawyers are attacking the suit from another way. They have asked Brody to dismiss two counts — vicarious liability and civil conspiracy — because they say the young man’s attorneys did not support their claims.
In a separate request, lawyers for The Second Mile attacked the lawsuit and asked Brody to dismiss the claims.
The lawyers denied The Second Mile was a “hunting ground” for Sandusky and said the abuse allegations did not stem from any of its programs or events.
The crux of the lawyers’ argument was that Sandusky was not acting on behalf of The Second Mile when he abused Victim 6 in 1998. The lawyers said the charity did its job when the boy was under its care in a youth program and that officials had no control over Sandusky later.
Furthermore, the lawyers took a shot at Penn State, saying that whatever evidence there was in 1998 “was concealed” by the university from The Second Mile.
The lawsuit brought by Victim 6 is the only one from someone claiming to have been abused by Sandusky that was not stayed.
It is not clear if the young man is one of 28 men who are in talks to settle their claims with Penn State, and Penn State spokesman David La Torre indicated that the young man and his lawyer have not been receptive to their overtures. The university hired lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to mediate the talks.
“The university has extended every opportunity to the claimant and his counsel to participate in that process,” La Torre said. “They have chosen to press the case in the courts, leaving the university no choice but to defend itself.”