Suit: Sandusky Used Joe Paterno’s Famous White Socks to Buy Victim’s Silence

The newest lawsuit emerging from the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal at Penn State contains a fresh allegation that seems designed to renew all the hurt feelings that seem to have quieted in recent months. Sandusky, his accuser says, tried to buy an abuse victim’s silence by giving the young man … a pair of Joe Paterno’s socks.

Courthouse News Service first reported the allegation Thursday, which is contained in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by “John Doe 6,” with Penn State, Sandusky’s charity The Second Mile, and Sandusky himself named as the defendants. The plaintiff says he was 11 years old when he was sexually abused by Sandusky in May 1998. Sandusky invited the boy to the Penn State football offices at the Lasch Building on campus.

“Sandusky exploited his status as a member of the PSU football staff to facilitate grooming and coercing his intended victim, John Doe 6,” the lawsuit alleges. “Among other things, Sandusky invited John Doe 6 to visit the coaches’ offices and gave him a pair of Paterno’s socks.” Sandusky then lured the boy to the Lasch Building’s showers. The complaint continues, in some detail:

To be clear: There’s no suggestion in the lawsuit that Paterno himself ever knew that his own locker and possessions—his famous white socks—were being used to buy the silence of Sandusky’s abuse victim. The socks, of course, were part of Paterno’s much-beloved rumpled coach-Brown University grad persona that helped make the football program so popular.

The boy’s mother called Penn State police the next day to report the incident. From there, the lawsuit relies largely on the findings of the Freeh Report to suggest that Penn State officials didn’t pursue the case as vigorously as they should have—and at times seemed more interested in exonerating Sandusky than in substantiating the boy’s report. (This is the case where investigators listened to Sandusky telling the boy’s mother he’d probably acted inappropriately, and “wished (he) was dead.) Ultimately, of course, no charges were brought in the incident—and Sandusky continued to prey on young men for more than a decade, using Penn State’s facilities—his office next to Paterno’s for much of the time—until being charged in 2011.

“Instead of protecting children, including Plaintiff, from sexual abuse by Sandusky, Defendant Penn State and Sandusky acted in concert to shield Sandusky from criminal detection, shielded the hierarchy and the leadership of Penn State from scandal, attempted to shield Penn State from liability, fostered a culture of silence, and attempted to protect its reputation instead of protecting, and actually helping, children,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff demands a jury trial, and damages in excess of $75,000 on each of six civil counts of liability, conspiracy, and neglect raised in the suit. [Courthouse News Service]

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Berton/100002814677581 Tim Berton

    Unless there is new evidence that Penn State had complaints about Sandusky before 1998, I don’t see that Penn State is liable for victim 6’s 1998 abuse because the police, DA’s office and PA Dept.of Public Welfare investigated and found no crime. Why isn’t victim 6 suing them?

    I think victim 6 realizes he isn’t going to get a big settlement from Penn State so is trying to make himself more of a nuisance to increase the size of his settlement.

    Strange how Paterno’s socks never came up at Sandusky’s trial. It seems irrelevant.

    Will the socks be entered as evidence or tested for Paterno’s DNA? Sandusky could have just given victim 6 a pair of his own socks and claimed they were Paterno’s.

  • Katrina

    How many times is this story going to change…
    http://WWW.FRAMINGPATERNO.COM

  • LAKane

    Investigated poorly by CYS and DPW in addition to police, to infer this was not pursued “vigorously enough” by Penn State is factually incorrect. The DA of State College was the ultimate decision maker on whether to pursue charges. Much more of a Pennsylvania state issue as opposed to a Penn State issue.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RSDZCFCUIURQ2AX5SNIDFR42JY Mike Hunt

    This cretin is just after money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GarthKlaus Scott E Phillips

    I don’t see how Penn State is responsible at all, in this case, but it doesn’t matter they’ll cut the kid a check anyway. It’s probably cheaper to do so and helps PSU’s image with the mob. Interesting to see the Second Mile also named.