Sandusky accuser claims Joe Paterno said, 'I have a football season to worry about' when told about sexual-assault allegation

A man testified in court in 2014 that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his claims in 1976 that assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually assaulted him in a shower, unsealed court documents showed Tuesday.

The man, identified as John Doe 150, testified in a civil suit against the university in 2014 that Sandusky assaulted him in a shower when he was 14 years old and attending a Penn State football camp.

According to the man’s testimony, other campers in the shower heard him cry out. “Several other coaches” witnessed the incident but did nothing, according to the testimony, so he said he went to Paterno.

Paterno, however, brushed off the complaints, which explicitly stated that Sandusky had sexually assaulted him, the man testified. In ignoring the complaints, Doe 150 testified, Paterno said he had a football season to worry about.

From The Washington Post:

“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?”

Paterno, the man testified, just walked away.

According to Penn Live, Doe was one of 32 people to receive money in 2014 from the university in a civil suit. A Philadelphia judge unsealed the documents Tuesday as part of the university’s ongoing attempt to recoup civil settlement money from its insurance provider.

The insurance provider claims that Penn State officials covered up the allegations, which in turn failed to prevent future instances of abuse. (You can read more about the ongoing legal battle over at Deadspin.)

Because Doe 150’s testimony came in a civil suit against the university, he was not cross-examined by the Paterno family. In a statement through its counsel, the Paterno family denied the allegations:

“From the beginning, the Paterno family has been outspoken in their desire for the complete truth in the Sandusky tragedy. They have also repeatedly called for due process for all affected parties. With this latest release of information, the total mishandling of the Sandusky investigation is highlighted once again.”

“The overwhelming evidence confirms that Joe Paterno never engaged in a cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes. Multiple independent parties have confirmed this conclusion. In fact, consistent with University rules, Joe reported an allegation about Sandusky to administration officials. As President Barron stated in his message to the University earlier today, an environment where faculty and staff feel protected in reporting wrongdoing is a key objective of the University.”

“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.”

“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.”

“When the Sandusky scandal first became public in 2011, there was a lot of rhetoric in the media about using this case as a model to help prevent other child sex abuse scandals. Sadly, one of the lessons from the Sandusky tragedy is how not to investigate a crime of this type.”

Paterno died in 2012, shortly after Sandusky was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.

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