Report: Ex-Penn State Player Files Hazing Lawsuit Against James Franklin, Teammates

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A former Penn State safety filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday claiming coach James Franklin and his staff ignored violent hazing within the program, according to The Patriot-News.

Isaiah Humphries filed the complaint in U.S. Middle District Court and contends the alleged hazing was sexual. Humphries named Franklin and his former teammate Damion Barber as defendants. Players Micah Parsons, Yetur Gross-Matos and Jesse Luketa are also accused of leading the abuse, the newspaper reports.

Humphries reportedly claims that Franklin and other coaches forced him out of the football program because he complained about the hazing, which the lawsuit states occurred in multiple areas on Penn State's campus.

In the suit, Humphries claims the hazers told underclassmen football players that they were "their b---- because this is a prison" and threatened to sexually assault them. The alleged abusers reportedly said "I am going to Sandusky you," in reference to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky who is in prison for child molestation.

According to The Patriots-News, Humphries "claims his alleged tormenters would wrestle victims to the ground, then shove their genitals in the victims's faces or between their buttocks and hump them. Those who resisted were bullied, he contends. Hazers also stole their targets's clothes."

In the lawsuit, Humphries states Luketa threatened to physically harm him and said if he "ever visited 'his city' in the country of Canada that he would make certain that [Humphries] was gunned down upon arrival." 

Humphries claims Barber was charged with violating Penn State's anti-hazing policy and disciplined by the university's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response last year.

Humphries states he and his father, former Penn State standout and NFL player Leonard Humphries, complained about the alleged hazing but were ignored. In the suit, Humphries said he left the program and transferred to California because of the hazing. He was only with the Nittany Lions for one season in 2018.

Penn State released a statement Tuesday saying the university investigated the claims.

"The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct. In accordance with our processes, the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct carried out investigations of the plaintiff's claims independent from Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition, Penn State police investigated related allegations and forwarded the results of that investigation to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney (DA). The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued."

Attorney Steven F. Marino is representing Humphries. Marino filed a lawsuit against Franklin and Penn State on behalf of former team doctor Scott A. Lynch, who claimed the coach interfered with decisions on when injured players could return to the field.