New Suit Says Coach Abused Boy for 4 Years

By Bill Pennington (NY Times)
November 30, 2011

The former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times in a four-year period and threatened the boy and his family to keep them from reporting the abuse, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Philadelphia. The alleged victim, now 29, is not one of the eight who were mentioned in a grand jury report revealed last month in the child sexual abuse case against Sandusky.

Identified only as John Doe, the alleged victim had not told anyone about the abuse, according to his lawyer, but was motivated to come forward after Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child abuse and then proclaimed his innocence in a television interview.

"Hearing Sandusky on TV deny that he did these kinds of things, that was the breaking point for him," Jeff Anderson, a prominent advocate for child sex abuse victims who is representing the reported victim, said in a telephone interview. "He knew what happened to him, and he now knew there were others. He had thought he was alone."

On Tuesday, the reported victim filed a complaint with law enforcement officials and a day later sued Sandusky, Penn State and the Second Mile charity that Sandusky founded in 1977. It is the first civil lawsuit in the sexual abuse case, which has shaken Penn State and led to the firing of the longtime football coach Joe Paterno and the university's president, Graham B. Spanier.

"I am the man in this lawsuit, and I'm writing this statement and taking this action because I don't want other kids to be hurt and abused by Jerry Sandusky, or anybody like Penn State to allow people like him to do it — rape kids," the reported victim wrote in a statement released by his lawyers.

Sandusky threatened the reported victim and his family if either told anyone about the abuse, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

"In 1996, Sandusky became a little more aggressive," Anderson said. "And when this courageous survivor, then 14 years old, resisted and said, 'I'm going to tell,' Sandusky did two things. He said, 'Nobody is going to believe you.' And then he made a threat and a threat against his family."

Sandusky, who has said that he is innocent of the charges against him, and his lawyer made no public comment about the suit.

In court papers, the reported victim's lawyers allege an atmosphere of negligence at Penn State and the Second Mile stretching back decades. The plaintiff in the lawsuit met Sandusky in 1992 when he was 10. In details similar to the grand jury testimony given by some of the reported victims in the criminal case, the plaintiff said Sandusky lavished him with gifts, took him on the road to Penn State football games and afforded him privileged access to campus facilities.

According to the complaint, the contact with Sandusky led to sexual abuse for the next four years on multiple occasions and at multiple locations. The complaint details the abuse as taking place in the Penn State football coaches' locker room, at Sandusky's home and at a bowl game in another state.

Because Penn State and the Second Mile both employed Sandusky, the reported victim's lawyers charged each institution with negligent oversight.

"This is an institutional case," said Marci Hamilton, a professor at Cardozo Law School who is representing the reported victim along with Anderson. "Two institutions that were tightly bound together, the Second Mile and Penn State, and the football program in particular, let Sandusky continue with his behavior."

A spokeswoman for Penn State said the university had not yet received or seen the lawsuit. In a statement, the Second Mile said it would review the suit and added: "The Second Mile will adhere to its legal responsibilities throughout this process. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."