Contrary to prior claims, newly unsealed documents say that Penn State head coach Joe Paterno fully knew of the child sex abuse allegations lodged against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. And he knew of not just one allegation, but many different cases.
The documents were unsealed as part of a lawsuit filed by the university against its insurance companies for refusing to pay any of the $93 million in settlements given to 32 of Sandusky’s victims.
The university demands the insurance company compensate the school for the payouts but the insurance company countered that it should not pay because university officials systematically hid the allegations and never informed the insurance company of the looming issues with Sandusky’s behavior.
One of the documents reveals the testimony of a man who said he personally told Paterno that Sandusky had touched him inappropriately in a university shower but Paterno waved him off saying he had “a football season to worry about” and didn’t want to hear the accusations, the Washington Post reports.
According to the documents, the victim known as “John Doe 150” testified that Paterno turned his back on him.
The victim, who was identified in court records as John Doe 150, said that while he was attending a football camp at Penn State, Sandusky touched him as he showered. Sandusky’s finger penetrated the boy’s rectum, Doe testified in court in 2014, and the victim asked to speak with Paterno about it. Doe testified that he specifically told Paterno that Sandusky had sexually assaulted him, and Paterno ignored it.
“Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, ‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?’” the man’s lawyer asked him in 2014.
“Specifically. Yes . . . I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted. . . I said, is that all you’re going to do? You’re not going to do anything else?”
Paterno, the man testified, just walked away.
Another document shockingly alleges that assistant coach Joe Sarra walked in on Sandusky molesting a 13-year-old boy but instead of moving to stop the act Sarra turned around and walked out ignoring the incident and doing nothing.
Yet another document alleges that in 1988, a weight room assistant named Kevin O’Dea witnessed Sandusky sitting on the floor rubbing a boy’s back as the child was lying on a couch in his underwear. The child who was molested said O’Dea didn’t say a word when he saw what was going on.
But the late Joe Paterno and the university had always maintained that there was never any cover up and few of the allegations were ever passed up the chain of command to Paterno and school officials.
The information in these unsealed documents formed the basis for many of the settlements offered to victims.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.