In the wake of new protestations by Pennsylvania State University President Eric Barron that accusations of sexual misconduct in its football program were not known until recently, another report finds the school has paid Jerry Sandusky’s accusers for incidents stretching all the way back to 1971.
This week Penn State President Barron released an open letter to counteract reports that the school’s late football coach Joe Paterno first heard of sexual abuse allegations against his defensive coordinator back in 1976.
“None of these allegations about the supposed knowledge of University employees has been substantiated in a court of law or in any other process to test their veracity,” Barron wrote. “I want you to know I am appalled by the rumor, innuendo and rush to judgment that have accompanied the media stories surrounding these allegations. All too often in our society, people are convicted in the court of public opinion, only to find a different outcome when all the facts are presented.”
But on the same day Barron released his letter, other reports emerged showing that the university paid off accusers for incidents which occurred up to forty years ago.
According to ESPN, the university paid complainants more than $90 million for sexual misconduct cases involving the now 72-year-old Sandusky who is serving a lengthy jail term on the charges of child molestation.
The university has not released many details of the payouts nor did the school reveal the process by which the allegations were verified.
Last week a court order revealed that an accuser informed Penn State head coach Joe Paterno of assistant coach Sandusky’s activities as a child molester 35 years before Sandusky’s arrest. The initial scandal resulted in Paterno’s firing, the removal of a statue of him from State College, and the NCAA vacating more than 100 wins. But immediately after the once-beloved coach’s 2012 death, attitudes softened and the statue was returned and the wins reinstated.
The latest charge, coming as part of a legal dispute between Penn State and insurance companies looking to get off the hook for tens of millions of dollars the school paid to the victims, threatens to once again sully the reputation of the coach with the most wins in college football history.
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