Reports: PSU coaches saw abuse; Paterno told victim to drop claim
As many as six assistant coaches at Penn State witnessed "inappropriate behavior" between Jerry Sandusky and boys, according to a report by NBC News. Furthermore, CNN reports two men have come forward and said they reported Sandusky's abuse to former head coach Joe Paterno before he said to drop the accusation.
It is uncertain if the assistant coaches reported what they saw to Penn State officials before the sex abuse scandal was uncovered in 2011.
The new details have come from a court order for an insurance case involving Penn State. Court documents observed by NBC reported "inappropriate" or "sexual" contact between Sandusky and children in 1987 and 1988.
A lawyer for one of the three coaches from the 1990s denied his client saw anything. A second coach declined to comment. A third could not be reached. The identity of the fourth was not disclosed to NBC News. The report did not discuss efforts to contact the other two coaches.
On Thursday, a PennLive.com report said Paterno was told that Sandusky was sexually abusing children as early as 1976.
One of the two victims tells CNN that he was hitchhiking when Sandusky picked him up, bought him beer and provided him with marijuana before he was attacked while standing at a urinal in a Penn State bathroom. He was 15 years old at the time and had previously been abused by a local priest. The victim, who is now 62 years old, told Paterno and the complaint went ignored by the longtime head coach. Paterno accused him of making it up and said that he would call the authorities.
The details of his abuse were confirmed to CNN by one of the victim's close friends from the 70s and a Pennsylvania state trooper that was told after Sandusky's arrest.
“That kind of took the wind out of me,” the victim tells CNN. “I knew, I had a feeling when I first came forward that this wasn't going to be the end. There's going to be more people and there is, there was. It's crazy. I am just kind of lost for words right now.”
The victim was one of 30 men who received part of a $60 million settlement with the university. Penn State paid for his two-plus years in rehab that ended in 2014, when he dealt with alcohol abuse.
Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years in prison following his conviction for molesting 10 boys he met through a charity event in 1994. He recently filed for a new trial.
Paterno died in Jan. 2012 after being dismissed as head football coach in the fall. He died before he was able to explain what he knew about Sandusky and the allegations. Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary testified at the criminal trial that he informed Paterno he witnessed something sexual between Sandusky and a young boy in a Penn State locker room shower. McQueary says he told former athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz in detail about a sexual assault. They have denied the charges.
His family issued the following statement to CNN:
“Joe Paterno's life has been scrutinized endlessly the last four and a half years. The facts that have emerged have repeatedly confirmed that he acted appropriately.
"The suggestion that Joe Paterno participated in the call described is in direct conflict with the facts as we know them and contrary to the way he lived his life."
Penn State responded to the NBC report with the following statement:
“The university is facing and has faced a number of litigation matters and claims related to the Sandusky events. Allegations of various kinds have been made, and will likely continue to be made. The university does not speculate publicly or hypothesize about individual allegations. These are sensitive matters, and we want to be respectful of the rights of all individuals involved. It would be inappropriate to do otherwise. Penn State has continuously expressed its concern for victims of child abuse and its overarching commitment to not only ensuring our campuses are safe for children, but to also helping to build greater awareness of child sexual abuse and maltreatment. In the past five years, Penn State has enacted a multitude of reforms focused on fighting child abuse, and has introduced best practices in governance, management and compliance.”
After the 2011 investigation, the NCAA stripped Penn State and Paterno of more than two decades of victories. They have since been reinstated. A statue of Paterno was removed from outside Beaver Stadium. A report by FBI Director Louis Freeh determined that Paterno and three other top school officials covered up Sandusky's abuse and showed a "total and consistent disregard" for his victims.