A 14-year-old boy walked through the hallways of an office building on Penn State campus in 1976 and asked to speak to Joe Paterno.
According to court documents, the coach said “Follow me, I have a meeting to go to.”
That was when he says he told the man who helmed Penn State’s football program that Jerry Sandusky violated him sexually.
“Person to person, it was just the two of us, but there were several people within three, four, five feet,” he said in an October 2014 deposition in the suit between Penn State and its liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association.
The two are battling about who pays the bill for the $92.8 million in settlements the university has made with 33 people claiming abuse by Sandusky, the Nittany Lions retired defensive coordinator and founder of The Second Mile children’s charity.
“Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?” asked PMA attorney Steven Englemyer.
“Specifically, yes,” said the man identified as John Doe 150.
Hundreds of pages of documents in the suit were released Tuesday after a petition from a group of news media organizations, including the Centre Daily Times.
Penn State had until 11:59 p.m. Monday to respond to Judge Gary Glazer’s decision to make the documents public, albeit redacted for the privacy of the claimants. The university did not do that.
“Penn State’s overriding concern has been and remains for the victims of Jerry Sandusky,” said President Eric Barron in a message published by the university Tuesday. “While individuals hold different opinions and may draw different inferences from the testimony about former Penn State employees, speculation by Penn State is not useful. We must be sensitive to all individuals involved, and especially to those who may be victims of child sexual abuse.”
The Paterno family responded with vehement defense of the longtime coach, who died in January 2012, after being dismissed amidst the uproar surrounding Sandusky’s arrest in the waning days of the 2011 football season. Sandusky retired in 1999.
“The materials released today relating to Joe Paterno allege a conversation that occurred decades ago where all parties except the accuser are now dead. In addition, there are numerous specific elements of the accusations that defy all logic and have never been subjected to even the most basic objective examination. Most significantly, there is extensive evidence that stands in stark contrast to this claim,” said their attorney Wick Sollers in a statement.
“That Penn State chose to settle claims without fully assessing the underlying facts is something that the University obviously felt they had to do to help resolve this matter. We understand their desire for closure, but it does not remotely validate the assertions about an uncorroborated conversation with Joe Paterno,” Sollers said.