Late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was told by a 14-year-old boy in 1976 that he had been sexually assaulted by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky but ignored the complaint, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.
The alleged attack occurred long before a 1998 incident that investigators had set as the earliest date that Paterno and university officials knew, or should have known, about reports to authorities of sexual abuse by Sandusky.
The victim, who was identified in court records as John Doe 150, gave graphic testimony in 2014 about an abusive touching incident he said he suffered at the hands of Sandusky when he was in a shower while attending a football camp at Penn State.
His redacted statement released in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas was among excerpts of depositions by accusers who said they reported abuse to Paterno or his assistants in the 1970s and 1980s.
When staff members were told about the molestation they did nothing, the man said. He said he then spoke to Paterno, with several people nearby.
“‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about,'” the man recalled Paterno as saying before walking away.
“I was insulted,” said the man, who is among more than 30 Sandusky accusers paid almost $93 million by Penn State.
The deposition was among records unsealed in an legal fight between Penn State and its insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co, over who should bear the costs of the claims linked to Sandusky.
Sandusky, 72, is in prison after a jury convicted him in 2012 of molesting 10 boys in incidents dating back to the 1990s.
Paterno, the most successful coach in major college football history, died in 2012 at 85. He denied any knowledge of sexual abuse by Sandusky.
Through its lawyer, Wick Sollers, the Paterno family rejected allegations in the materials that had been ordered unsealed by Judge Gary Glazer.
“The overwhelming evidence confirms that Joe Paterno never engaged in a coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes,” Sollers said in a statement.
Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement that the school would not comment on the materials. Penn State’s overriding concern has been for Sandusky’s victims, he said.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Tom Brown)