A now-29 year old man has filed a lawsuit alleging that former assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused him while he was a boy more than 100 times and also threatened to harm his family. The man, identified as John Doe, filed the suit on Tuesday and said that he had never told anyone about the abuse until, earlier this month, a grand jury report charged Sandusky with abusing eight boys over a period of 15 years.
The 29-year-old man is the first plaintiff to file suit in the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal. In the suit, he alleges that Sandusky abused him starting in 1992, when he was 10 years old, until 1996. The abuse occurred at Sandusky’s State College home, in the locker rooms of Penn State and on trips, including a bowl game. The man said that Sandusky had given him gifts, trips and attention like that “lavished on other victims.” Sandusky, Penn State University and The Second Mile charity for disadvantaged youth — through which the man met Sandusky — are all named as defendants.
Jeff Anderson, the man’s attorney and also a lawyer representing a number of victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, read a statement at a news conference, quoting his client who had said:
“I am hurting and have been for a long time because of what happened, but feel now even more tormented that I have learned of so many other kids were abused after me.”
The lawsuit requests a minimum $400,000 in damages for sexual abuse, negligence, emotional distress and other claims. Anderson also said that the man has “long thought he was the only victim and was mired in guilt and self-loathing.” The university says that it has not yet seen the complaint.
Sandusky has said that he showered and “horsed around” with boys but did not sexually abuse them. His lawyer, Joe Amendola, said on Wednesday that four of the alleged victims in the grand jury report had “recent congenial contact” with him. Amendola says that two of the alleged victims dined with Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, last summer, and that another had visited “a few years ago with his fiancee and baby, and discussed having the Sanduskys be a part of their new family.”
After the grand jury’s report was revealed, President Graham Spanier resigned and longtime coach Joe Paterno was fired. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz, who was in charge of the university’s police department, were both named in the report; Curley is now on administrative leave and Schultz has stepped down.
Another coach, assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of Syracuse University, was fired on Sunday night after reports emerged about his alleged sexual abuse of boys. Earlier this month, former Syracuse ball boy Bobby Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, accused Fine of molesting them. Fine was placed on administrative leave earlier this month, at which time Syracuse University said that it had conducted its own investigation about the allegations of abuse in 2005 and that it had been ”unable to find any corroboration of the allegations.” A third man has also accused Fine of abusing him and the US Secret Service and federal agents have searched Fine’s house. While some have called for Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, who has defended Fine and been “verbally disparaging” towards accusers, to resign or to pay a fine, Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor has said (as of Tuesday afternoon) that “Coach Boeheim is our coach.”
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Photo by Joe Shlabotnik