Sandusky, Penn State, Second Mile named in federal suit by 'John Doe 6'
One of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky’s victims has filed suit against the former assistant football coach, the charitable organization Sandusky started at which he met and groomed many of his young victims and Penn State University over claims relating to the child sex-abuse scandal that made headlines the world over last year. In a federal civil action filed Jan. 22 at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, lawyers for the plaintiff, identified only as “John Doe 6,” accuse Sandusky of using The Second Mile as a “hunting ground for victims of his perverted desire to sexually abuse minor boys.” The Second Mile, based in State College, Pa., was founded by Sandusky in the late 1970s as a foster home for troubled boys. The organization soon blossomed into a large charity dedicated to assisting children with absent or dysfunctional families, with Sandusky being its primary fundraiser. The suit says that since its creation, The Second Mile has had significant social and financial links to Penn State University. Attorneys for the plaintiff allege that the university did not have appropriate policies and procedures regulating its employees’ usage of its facilities, and in the case of Sandusky, enabled the former defense coordinator for the Nittany Lions to bring underage boys to its campus and interact with them without parental supervision. “Penn State did not have appropriate policies regulating the usage of facilities for unorganized activities or during off hours,” the lawsuit reads. The complaint was filed by lawyers Brian Ketterer, Hal Kleinman, Howard Alan Janet, Kenneth M. Suggs and Jason B. Penn, of the Baltimore firm of Janet, Jenner & Suggs. The suit states that Sandusky was given “unfettered access” to a range of university facilities, including weight rooms, training rooms, offices and athlete showers. “Defendant PSU’s purposeful disregard and continued and deliberate concealment of Sandusky’s inappropriate conduct was a function of its recognition that the University’s stature, reputation, and economic interests would be adversely affected by any public disclosure regarding the sociopathic character of an individual associated with the school’s legendary and financially lucrative football program,” the lawsuit states. Sandusky was convicted in June of last year on 45 counts of child sex-abuse for molesting 10 underage boys during a 15-year time period. In October, a state judge sentenced Sandusky to between 30 and 60 years in state prison. Sandusky’s lawyers have since filed an appeal challenging both the conviction and the sentence. The plaintiff in the lawsuit, John Doe 6, alleges that Sandusky engaged in indecent contact with him and sexually abused him in the spring of 1998. “Sandusky groomed this minor victim and assaulted him on Penn State’s campus,” reads the complaint. The suit claims that Sandusky also sexually abused a close friend of the plaintiff’s around that same time period. The friend is also not identified in court papers in order to protect the identity of the plaintiff. The complaint says that prior to the initial incident between Sandusky and the plaintiff, the Second Mile recognized or should have recognized that Sandusky was sexually victimizing minor boys for his own sexual gratification, including those who he lured onto Penn State’s campus. Ultimately, the suit states, John Doe 6 became one of those victims when he was merely 11 years old. Sandusky’s status as a member of the highly respected Penn State football staff, and the failure of Penn State and the Second Mile to report and/or disclose Sandusky’s “sociopathic behavior,” ultimately contributed to Sandusky’s access to the plaintiff, the suit claims. “Sandusky exploited his ongoing relationship with Penn State and Second Mile by deliberately, methodically, and calculatedly grooming Plaintiff for a sexual relationship,” the suit states. The complaint says that Sandusky met the plaintiff during an event hosted by the Second Mile in April 1998, and that the initial sex abuse occurred inside of a Penn State shower facility. That incident was the catalyst for an investigation into Sandusky back in the late 1990s, but one that never ended with formal charges being brought against Sandusky. Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s new attorney general, has vowed to launch an investigation into the decision by then-Attorney General and now-Gov. Tom Corbett to not initially bring charges against Sandusky back in 1998. The Penn State sex scandal has also resulted in charges against former university President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Timothy Curley. The complaint states that even after the Second Mile learned of some of the alleged inappropriate activities with regard to Sandusky, the organization concealed the information, thereby allowing Sandusky to remain in a leadership position and providing him with access to its facilities and, in turn, minor boys. “Sandusky used his status and connections with Penn State to perpetuate his criminally outrageous and depraved acts,” the lawsuit states. “PSU’s response to Sandusky’s sexually abusive behavior to minor boys, including Plaintiff, was to cover it up and in effect reward him as described above. Not only did this constitute a ratification of Sandusky’s abusive behavior toward Plaintiff and others, it enabled him to continue to abuse children over the course of decades.” The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligent, reckless and outrageous conduct. The complaint contains counts of childhood sexual abuse and vicarious liability, negligence, negligent supervision, premises liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy to endanger children. The plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000, together with interest, costs, attorney’s fees other court relief. The federal case number is 2:13-cv-00336-AB.