A former Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) assistant football coach sexually abused a boy more than 100 times and threatened to harm his family to keep him quiet, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by a new accuser who is not part of the criminal case.
The 29-year-old, identified only as John Doe, had never told anyone about the abuse he claims he suffered until Jerry Sandusky was charged this month with abusing other boys. His lawyer said he filed a complaint with law enforcement on Tuesday. He became the first plaintiff to file suit in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal a day later.
Sandusky has acknowledged that he showered with boys, but denied molesting them. His lawyer did not immediately return a message about the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims Sandusky abused the boy from 1992, when the boy was 10, until 1996 in encounters at the coach’s State College home, in a Penn State locker room and on trips, including to a bowl game. The account echoes a grand jury’s description of trips, gifts and attention lavished on other boys.
“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 abused after me,” the plaintiff said in a handwritten statement his lawyer read aloud at a news conference.
College football in the US is highly popular. The scandal has shaken the reputation of Penn State’s program — one that long had prided itself on integrity in an environment where the profits of endorsements and TV deals have led some schools to compromise academics and the law itself.
The lawsuit seeks tens of thousands of US dollars and names Sandusky, the university and Sandusky’s The Second Mile charity as defendants. The man says he knew the coach through the charity, which Sandusky founded in 1977, ostensibly to help disadvantaged children in central Pennsylvania.
The man was not referenced in the grand jury report that charges Sandusky with abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.
His lawyer, Jeff Anderson, said he believes Sandusky was a predator who could not control his sexual impulses toward children. He harshly criticized officials at Penn State and The Second Mile who failed to report their suspicions and put a stop to any abuse.
“We need to address the institutional recklessness and failures,” said Anderson, who specializes in clergy sex abuse lawsuits. “Was it because of power, money, fear, loyalty, lack of education?”
The university said it had not seen the complaint.
The charity said it would respond after reviewing the lawsuit, but added: “The Second Mile will adhere to its legal responsibilities throughout this process. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
Anderson suggested that it ended four years later because Sandusky was not sexually interested in older teens.
The lawsuit was filed hours before students and high-ranking administrators participated in a town hall forum organized by students at Penn State’s main campus in State College.
Penn State president Rod Erickson promised that the university would raise the visibility of ethics “to a new level” following the scandal, which has rocked the campus.
“So hopefully everyone in the university understands ... we learn to do the right thing the first time, every time,” Erickson said in opening remarks before an audience of about 450 students and employees in the student union.