New unsealed court documents from a 2014 lawsuit involving Pennsylvania State University and an insurance company prove that head football coach Joe Paterno knew about the sexual assault allegations against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky back in 1976.
According to the Washington Post, a man known as John Doe 150 testified in court that he had been touched inappropriately by Sandusky while attending a football camp as a 14-year-old at Penn State, and he attempted to tell Paterno what was happening.
Paterno allegedly only responded, “I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about.”
The documents show that complaints of Sandusky’s penchant for sexual assault had been reported to Penn State athlete officials for 22 years until someone informed authorities for the first time in 1998.
This gross negligence and dogged blindness stemmed from other assistant coaches to weight room assistants, all of whom witnessed Sandusky’s abuse in one form or another throughout the years.
Paterno’s family and his attorney released a statement denying any knowledge of Sandusky’s actions:
“From the beginning, the Paterno family has been outspoken in their desire for the complete truth in the Sandusky tragedy…The overwhelming evidence confirms that Joe Paterno never engaged in a cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s crime.”
Doe’s 2014 testimony suggests otherwise.
Scott Paterno, one of Joe Paterno’s five children, also took to Twitter to defend his late father:
Headlines that "Joe knew in '76" are based on a single uncorroborated report of an incident allegedly witnessed by 6 other people.— Scott Paterno (@ScottPaterno) July 12, 2016
In short, '76 allegations are simple not credible on their face.— Scott Paterno (@ScottPaterno) July 12, 2016
Penn State’s statement on the new court documents also demonstrates they have no interest in maligning Paterno even in light of new evidence: “Alleged knowledge of former Penn State employees is not proven, and should not be treated as such… Speculation serves to drive a wedge within the Penn State community.”
Most of the evidence points to the conclusion that Paterno definitively knew what was occurring under him but did not care enough to address it. While Penn State may be reluctant to admit this, at least the public court of opinion largely finds him guilty.
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