A man testified in court in 2014 that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to new court documents unsealed Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.
The victim, who was identified in court records as John Doe 150, said that while he was attending a football camp at Penn State, Sandusky touched him as he showered. Sandusky's finger penetrated the boy's rectum, Doe testified in court in 2014, and the victim asked to speak with Paterno about it. Doe testified that he specifically told Paterno that Sandusky had sexually assaulted him, and Paterno ignored it.
"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?'" the man's lawyer asked him in 2014.
"Specifically. Yes . . . I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted. . . I said, is that all you're going to do? You're not going to do anything else?"
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Paterno, the man testified, just walked away.
The records, which were ordered unsealed by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary Glazer, contain a number of details about claims that Penn State football assistant coaches witnessed "inappropriate contact" and "sexual contact" between Sandusky and a child in 1987 and 1988.
The documents stem from an insurance lawsuit over allegations that a boy told Paterno that Sandusky was abusing young boys. Sandusky was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison after his conviction in 2012.
The records include excerpts from depositions given by accusers who contend they reported abuse to Paterno or members of his staff in the 1970s and '80s. That is significant because it is long before 1998, the time established by an independent investigation as the earliest date that Paterno and other officials knew or should have known about reports that Sandusky was abusing children.
The documents came to light in May, when a line in a court order noted that one of Penn State's insurers claimed that "in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he [the child] was sexually molested by Sandusky."
The order also cited 1987 and 1988 references to unnamed assistant coaches witnessing the contact between Sandusky and unidentified children and a 1988 case that allegedly was referred to Penn State's athletic director. According to a review of the case file by PennLive, the order states that all of this is in victims' depositions taken as part of an insurance case that is still pending.
"There is no evidence that reports of these incidents ever went further up the chain of command at PSU," Glazer wrote in May. He determined that because Penn State's president and trustees were unaware of the allegations, he would not bar claims from that time frame from insurance coverage.
Penn State President Eric Barron, in a statement on the university's website, writes:
"Penn State's overriding concern has been, and remains, for the victims of Jerry Sandusky. 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. It also makes it much more difficult for Penn State to create an environment where victims of sexual abuse feel comfortable coming forward and where students, faculty and staff feel protected in reporting wrongdoing."
There has been no comment yet from the family of the late hall of fame coach.
The school reached a settlement over the matter, paying out $93 million to 32 victims.