Judge: Keeping Sandusky lawsuit in Philadelphia not a burden
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge presiding over a civil lawsuit against Penn State and ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky by one of the accusers who testified in Sandusky’s criminal child sex abuse trial says keeping the case in Philadelphia doesn’t present a burden to potential witnesses or to the university.
Penn State is based in State College, about 200 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and has appealed Judge Angelo Foglietta’s decision to keep the lawsuit there.
The judge last week issued an opinion that said Penn State “failed to establish more than inconvenience” if he did not move the litigation to Centre County, where the university is headquartered.
“This court finds it difficult to believe that an entity as large and as diverse as PSU would cease to function if one person ... were absent for a day or two,” the judge wrote. “PSU is not a small sole proprietorship or ‘mom & pop’ store where the absence of a single person would truly be burdensome and oppressive to its daily operations.”
Penn State is appealing the decision in Superior Court.
The plaintiff, a young man described in court documents as Victim 9, testified during Sandusky’s 2012 trial that Sandusky violently attacked him in Sandusky’s home.
His lawsuit says he would not have been victimized if university officials had responded appropriately to complaints about Sandusky, the university’s retired longtime defensive coach. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
In a statement Thursday, Victim 9′s lawyers said Penn State “has refused to accept responsibility and has demonstrated an indifference and disregard for this victim.”
A university spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday.
Six of the 45 counts for which Sandusky was convicted involved Victim 9: two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count each of indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and endangering a child’s welfare.
Victim 9 told the jury in 2012 that Sandusky fondled him, forced him into oral sex and then raped him on multiple occasions between 2005 and 2009, when he was 16.
“He got real aggressive and just forced me into it,” he testified. “And I just went with it. There was no fighting against it.”
He testified that his muffled screams in the basement of Sandusky’s home went unheard by Sandusky’s wife, Dottie Sandusky, who was upstairs.
She testified she never heard a young man yelling for help while staying in her home. She described Victim 9 as “a charmer.”
“He knew what to say and when to say it,” she testified.
Jerry Sandusky is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years but maintains his innocence, acknowledging he showered with boys by denying he molested them.
Penn State agreed more than a year ago to pay nearly $60 million to settle abuse claims by 26 young men. It recently said it had not made any additional settlements.