A child apparently reported to Paterno that he was sexually abused by Sandusky in 1976. This came to light via a court order during a related insurance coverage case involving Penn State. The line in the court order says the following:
“in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky.”
The court order also cites references to incidents in 1987 and 1988 in which former assistant coaches observed “inappropriate contact between Sandusky and unidentified children” and another 1988 incident that was reported to Penn State’s athletic director at the time. All of the incidents are reportedly described in victims’ depositions that are currently under seal.
Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co. is arguing that it should not have to reimburse Penn State for the more than $60 million it has made in Sandusky-related settlements.
Paterno and Penn State apologists have argued for years that the school and the coach knew nothing of Sandusky’s activities and that the community as a whole was deceived. But it is getting harder and harder to defend the coach and the school as more allegations come to light. There seem to have been dozens of chances along the way to stop Sandusky’s horrific actions if they had just been followed up on.
Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers responded to the latest news:
“Over the past four-and-a-half years Joe Paterno’s conduct has been scrutinized by an endless list of investigators and attorneys.
“Through all of this review there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by Coach Paterno. To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate.
“An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts. Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky.”
Penn State’s own hired independent investigator, Louis Freeh, found that Paterno and former Penn State president Graham Spanier were aware of the complaints against Sandusky starting in at least 1998. Spanier and two of his former aides have a criminal case pending in which they are accused of failing to report an allegation of abuse by Sandusky in 2001.
Lawrence Lokman, a spokesman for Penn State, claims the university is aware of the latest allegation and that the school will not respond to specific circumstances related to ongoing cases.