Attorneys are asking for protection of a man who settled a claim with Penn State regarding child sexual abuse.
He is identified as John Doe 150, and he doesn’t want to testify in someone else’s lawsuit.
On Wednesday, his attorneys, Slade McLaughlin and Michael Boni, filed a motion for a protective order in Centre County court. Doe is being asked to be deposed in the suit brought by the estate of longtime Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno against the NCAA, its president Mark Emmert and former executive committee chairman Ed Ray.
Potter County Senior Judge John Leete ordered in May that Penn State reach out to the claimants that settled with the university regarding claims of sexual abuse at the hands of Sandusky, an assistant football coach who retired in 1999. In 2012, Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse against 10 victims over a period of years.
After the conviction, Penn State settled 32 claims for a total of $93 million between 2012 and 2015. Those settlements prompted another suit, between the university and its liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association. Philadelphia Judge Gary Glazer revealed in his order in that case that some of the claims dated back as far as the 1970s.
Doe is one of those claimants. His attorneys say he was sexually assaulted at the age of 14 while attending a football camp at the university during that time, and that he reported the abuse to Paterno.
McLaughlin and Boni argued the court should take pains to protect their client, who has already produced depositions in the Penn State v. PMA case, after completing his own settlement agreement. Depositions in the NCAA case, they say, would not only be painful, but threaten his privacy.
“Like many victims of childhood sexual abuse, John Doe 150 has kept the fact of his abuse secret from even those who are closest to him,” they wrote. “Dissemination of (his) identity would not only undermine his privacy interests, but would signal to the public that victims of sexual abuse cannot count on the protection of the courts.”
They suggested any deposition be done through written interrogatories, or that the deposition be strictly limited.
A protective order would place limitations on the information that would be publicly available regarding John Doe. The motion requests that, in addition to limiting those on hand for the deposition, should the preferred written testimony not be accepted, all identifying information be stripped in favor of the Doe designation.
Comparatively, in Sandusky’s appeal of his criminal case, the men in question are referred to by a mixture of Victim and number, by their initials, and sometimes openly by name.
Anthony Spinelli is pursuing a court case to file charges against Sandusky for the abuse he claims to have suffered at a football camp, but he has made a point of filing openly under his own name.
The Centre Daily Times and other news organizations have also filed a motion in Philadelphia for access to the settlement information.
The move comes just one day after Penn State asked Leete to quash a subpoena regarding the PMA case, citing assurances of confidentiality made to the claimants.