A judge says insurers in litigation with Penn State claim a boy told coach Joe Paterno in 1976 that he had been molested by convicted former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, Pennlive.com reported Thursday.
The order by Philadelphia Judge Gary Glazer also cites separate reports in 1987 and 1988 of other unnamed assistant football coaches allegedly witnessing “inappropriate contact between Sandusky and unidentified children.”
“An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts,” the Paterno family said in a statement given to Pennlive.com. “Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky.”
Pennlive.com’s review of the case file, which remains under seal, found that all the alleged incidents are described in victims’ depositions given as part of the still-active insurance coverage case for Sandusky-related claims.
“There is no evidence that reports of these incidents ever went further up the chain of command at PSU,” Judge Glazer wrote.
Sandusky is serving decades in prison for sexual abuse of 10 boys, for incidents that dated back to the 1990s. Concrete evidence of earlier allegations had not previously come to light, even though Sandusky was convicted of abusing children he met through the children’s charity he founded in 1977.
Paterno, who died in 2012 as the scandal was unfolding, went to university higher-ups with an assistant’s 2001 report of Sandusky abusing a child in a team shower, and told a grand jury in 2011 he didn’t “know of anything else” involving Sandusky.
“I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no. I do not know of it,” Paterno testified 10 months before Sandusky was first charged, along with two university administrators accused of covering up complaints about him.
Paterno family attorney Wick Sollers told Pennlive.com there is no evidence to corroborate the new disclosure and prove Paterno never covered up Sandusky’s actions.
“Through all of this review, there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by Coach Paterno,” Sollers said. “To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate.”
Booker Brooks, who was on Paterno’s staff from 1968 to 1983, told ESPN’s Josh Moyer he never recalled hearing any such accusation while he was with the program.
“If that’d been talked about, I sure as hell would’ve remembered it,” Brooks said. “Pure garbage.”
Penn State spokesman Lawrence Lokman told Pennlive.com that university officials involved in the Sandusky scandal’s legal fallout knew broadly of the insurance case’s allegations.
“Many, many people, potential victims and victims have come forward to the university as part of that (settlement) process,” Lokman said. “We do not talk about their specific circumstances.”
An appeals court recently threw out many of the charges against former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley, and state prosecutors did not challenge that decision. No trial date is set.
Sandusky is appealing a 45-count child sexual abuse conviction, and on Thursday was granted a hearing for May 20 as he pursues appeals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.