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New Documents Reveal Testimony In Penn State’s Settlement Proceedings

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Documents regarding previous allegations that Paterno may have known about Jerry Sandusky as far back as 1976 were unsealed today by a Philadelphia judge.

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Philadelphia judge Gary Glazer unsealed court documents related to Penn State’s settlements involving Jerry Sandusky victims today. It reveals testimony from a then-14-year-old Sandusky victim reaching out to Joe Paterno with a complaint about Sandusky. The man, John Doe 150, reveals in graphic detail what happened to him in the shower at a football camp he attended on campus. He also states that Paterno ignored his complaint and said to him:

"I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about."

The man said he was shocked and disappointed, and asked Paterno if that was all he would do. He then states that Joe walked away from the conversation.

Other allegations include inappropriate and sexual contact witnessed by football assistants in 1987 and 1988. One incident involves former assistant coach Joe Serra, who allegedly walked in on Sandusky inappropriately touching John Doe 75 in a coaches’ meeting room. Serra died in 2012.

Another allegation involves former assistant Kevin O’Dea, who saw John Doe 101 laying on a couch while being inappropriately touched by Sandusky. As per John Doe 101, O’Dea did not do anything about the incident.

The Paterno family has released a statement about the current situation:

From the beginning, the Paterno family has been outspoken in their desire for the complete truth in the Sandusky tragedy. They have also repeatedly called for due process for all affected parties. With this latest release of information, the total mishandling of the Sandusky investigation is highlighted once again.

The overwhelming evidence confirms that Joe Paterno never engaged in a cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes. Multiple independent parties have confirmed this conclusion. In fact, consistent with University rules, Joe reported an allegation about Sandusky to administration officials. As President Barron stated in his message to the University earlier today, an environment where faculty and staff feel protected in reporting wrongdoing is a key objective of the University.

The materials released today relating to Joe Paterno allege a conversation that occurred decades ago where all parties except the accuser are now dead. In addition, there are numerous specific elements of the accusations that defy all logic and have never been subjected to even the most basic objective examination. Most significantly, there is extensive evidence that stands in stark contrast to this claim.

That Penn State chose to settle claims without fully assessing the underlying facts is something that the University obviously felt they had to do to help resolve this matter. We understand their desire for closure, but it does not remotely validate the assertions about an uncorroborated conversation with Joe Paterno.

When the Sandusky scandal first became public in 2011, there was a lot of rhetoric in the media about using this case as a model to help prevent other child sex abuse scandals. Sadly, one of the lessons from the Sandusky tragedy is how not to investigate a crime of this type.

In anticipation of the release of the unsealed testimony, Penn State President Eric Barron released the following statement:

"Today, information is being released by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas related to a lawsuit between Penn State and its insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association. For its part, the University does not plan to provide additional comment on these matters, as this information has largely already been covered by media.

Penn State's overriding concern has been, and remains, for the victims of Jerry Sandusky. While individuals hold different opinions, and may draw different inferences from the testimony about former Penn State employees, speculation by Penn State is not useful. We must be sensitive to all individuals involved, and especially to those who may be victims of child sexual abuse. It also makes it much more difficult for Penn State to create an environment where victims of sexual abuse feel comfortable coming forward and where students, faculty and staff feel protected in reporting wrongdoing.

Although settlements have been reached, it also is important to reiterate that the alleged knowledge of former Penn State employees is not proven, and should not be treated as such. Some individuals deny the claims, and others are unable to defend themselves.

Speculation also serves to drive a wedge within the Penn State community. I would ask that we remember our University's primary mission is to focus on research, education and service. Let's be respectful of other viewpoints and focus on our mission. The University is committed to ensuring our campuses are safe for children, and to ongoing prevention and education programs and research that contribute to a better society.

I want to thank our Penn State community for caring so deeply about not only our university during these difficult times, but also for the victims of child abuse."

The released documents can be read in full here: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2824537/PSU-v-Ins-Re-Paterno.pdf