First lawsuit filed against Penn State in child molestation case

By Jon Campisi | Nov 30, 2011

The first civil action arising out of the Pennsylvania State University child sex-abuse scandal has been filed in state court.

Attorney Jeffrey A. Anderson of St. Paul, Minn., and Washington Crossing, Pa. attorney Marci A. Hamilton filed the lawsuit Nov. 30 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of a man identified only as “John Doe A.”

The man’s identity has been hidden because he was a minor when the alleged sex crimes against him were perpetrated.

The lawsuit names as defendants former Penn State football defensive coordinator Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky; The Second Mile, which is a charitable organization for disadvantaged youth that was founded by Sandusky in the late 1970s; and Penn State University.

Sandusky has since been charged with 40 criminal counts in connection with his alleged molestation of eight children between the late 1990s and earlier last decade.

Wednesday’s filing is the first civil complaint in what is expected to be a slew of lawsuits against the university and those involved in the alleged child sex-abuse scandal.

The complaint states that John Doe A met Sandusky in 1992 when the plaintiff was just 10 years old.

“Sandusky met John Doe A through the Second Mile and recruited, groomed and coerced Plaintiff, showering him with gifts, travel and privileges,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint alleges that Sandusky sexually victimized the plaintiff, who is now under 30 years of age, between 1992 and 1996.

“John Doe A was too young to have given any consent, and Sandusky’s abuse was in fact unwanted and has caused substantial harm to John Doe A,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint alleges that Sandusky sexually molested the boy more than 100 times.

The abuse allegedly took place both inside and outside of the state; on Penn State’s campus, specifically, the athletic facilities; within Philadelphia County; and at Sandusky’s home in central Pennsylvania, according to the lawsuit.

“Sandusky threatened Plaintiff and threatened to harm Plaintiff’s family if Plaintiff told anyone about the abuse,” the lawsuit claims. “This threat operated to silence Plaintiff and caused him to not be able to take any action until recently.”

As has been expected since talk of civil liability was first raised against the higher learning institution, the John Doe lawsuit accuses Penn State of being negligent in relation to the alleged crimes against children that are said to have taken place on the school’s property.

The lawsuit similarly accuses The Second Mile of such negligence.

“Had Penn State and Second Mile not been negligent in managing the risk posed to children by persons, such as Sandusky, who have a sexual interest in children, Penn State and Second Mile each could have prevented many children, including the Plaintiff, from being sexually assaulted by Sandusky,” the complaint states.

As a result of his alleged four years of abuse at the hands of Sandusky, John Doe A suffered, and continues to suffer, “great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and a loss of enjoyment of life,” the lawsuit claims.

The suit also alleges that the plaintiff has been prevented from carrying out his daily activities and that he has suffered a loss of earnings due to his injuries.

The lawsuit contains counts of childhood sexual abuse and vicarious liability, negligence, negligent supervision, negligent misrepresentation, premises liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional misrepresentation and civil conspiracy to endanger children.

For each count listed in the complaint, the plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, court costs and other appropriate relief.

The case number is 111102968.

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