Current Cal football player Isaiah Humphries, who formerly played at Penn State, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday that accuses four ex-teammates at Penn State of hazing him, and the suit further claims that Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin retaliated against him after he reported it.
The story was reported by multiple media outlets, including Fox 43, a Fox-affiliated television station in York, Pa. Pennlive.com broke the story.
According to the reports, the suit was filed U.S. Middle District Court.
Humphries, who transferred to Cal after the 2018 season and sat out the 2019 season as a transfer, names Franklin in the lawsuit, along with ex-teammates Damion Barber, Micah Parsons, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Jesse Luketa.
Fox 43 reports the lawsuit seeks compensatory damages against Penn State University, Franklin, and Barber for negligence in violating anti-hazing statutes. It also accuses Barber of assault and battery, and all named defendants of negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Parsons is a standout linebacker with the Nittany Lions, while Barber and Gross-Matos are starters on the defensive line.
Former Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour is now the athletic director at Penn State.
Humphries is the son of former Penn State standout Jesse Humphries.
Penn State released a statement after the story was reported, saying that it followed the appropriate steps for such claims, and that the Office of the Centre County District Attorney also reviewed the case and did not pursue any charges:
Fox 43 reported that the lawsuit says the hazing “served as a form of initiation into the Penn State football program.” The accused participants stated they intended to make lower classmen, such as Humphries, “their b---- because this is a prison.”
Other statements made by the accused hazers included the phrases “I am going to Sandusky you,” and “this is Jerry,” the lawsuit claims. (Jerry Sandusky is a former Penn State defensive coordinator who is in prison for the sexual abuse of young boys after being convicted of 48 counts in 2012.)
The Fox 43 report also stated that the suit alleges the hazing included acts of physical intimidation and abuse, stolen items of clothing, and simulated sexual acts. Some of the alleged hazing acts occurred in the team shower.
The lawsuit claims some of the alleged hazing acts were witnessed by members of the Penn State football team and its coaching staff.
Humphries reportedly claims in the suit that he and his father reported the alleged hazing to Franklin and other members of the coaching staff, but “no substantive action” was taken” by Franklin or the other coaches.
The television station also reported the lawsuit claims that the Penn State coaching staff “overly and unfairly” scrutinized Humphries’ athletic performance in retaliation for reporting the alleged harassment and hazing and claims that Humphries was “scorned and punished” by Franklin’s staff.
Humphries’ lawsuit claims he was denied medical accommodations to manage anxiety and loss of sleep by Franklin’s staff. Penn State also attempted to remove Humphries from the program “with the excuse of a medical retirement option” as a form of retaliation, according to the lawsuit.
Luketa allegedly “continuously and repeatedly” threatened Humphries in retaliation for reporting the alleged hazing, the lawsuit states. Luketa, who is from Canada, allegedly told Humphries that if he ever visited Luketa’s city, he would make certain that Humphries was “gunned down” upon arrival, according to the lawsuit.