HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man who claims to be the unknown victim molested in a Penn State shower by Jerry Sandusky in a case that led to Joe Paterno’s firing intends to sue the university for its “egregious and reckless conduct” that facilitated the abuse, his lawyers said Thursday.
The lawyers have done an extensive investigation and gathered “overwhelming evidence” on details of the abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, they said in a statement.
“Our client has to live the rest of his life not only dealing with the effects of Sandusky’s childhood sexual abuse, but also with the knowledge that many powerful adults, including those at the highest levels of Penn State, put their own interests and the interests of a child predator above their legal obligations to protect him,” the statement said.
The university said in a statement that it is taking the case seriously but cannot comment on pending litigation.
University President Rodney Erickson and the Board of Trustees, the school said, “have publicly emphasized that their goal is to find solutions that rest on the principle of justice for the victims.”
Prosecutors have said they don’t know the identity of the boy molested by Sandusky in 2001. The encounter was spotted by a former graduate assistant who reported the abuse to school officials, including Paterno, but none of them told police.
The victim is not named in the statement, and the AP generally does not identify victims of sex crimes without their consent. The plaintiff has been identified in documents only as Victim 2.
Sandusky awaits sentencing after being convicted of 45 sex abuse counts. Before his trial, his lawyer said he’d been contacted by a man he believed he might be Victim 2. But the lawyer said he was not convinced.
The attorneys who released the statement include several based in Philadelphia and in State College, home to Penn State’s main campus and where the shower assault took place.
“We intend to file a civil lawsuit against Penn State University and others and to hold them accountable for the egregious and reckless conduct that facilitated the horrific abuse our client suffered,” the statement said.
Trustees fired Paterno, who has since died, because he failed to do more about claims against Sandusky, and a scathing independent review said several top school officials looked the other way because they were afraid of bad publicity. The NCAA has vacated 112 Penn State wins.