Judge Unveils Controversial Depositions Regarding Penn State’s Handling of Sexual Abuse Incidents

 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A Philadelphia judge unveiled depositions that shed light on the details of disturbing claims, revealed in May, that Penn State officials were aware of sexual abuse allegations regarding Jerry Sandusky far earlier than originally thought.

The documents stirred the pot of controversy surrounding Sandusky as well as former head football coach Joe Paterno and other university officials.

The stories of four alleged sexual abuse victims were addressed in multiple cases detailed in documents released by a judge in the university’s courtroom clash with its commercial general liability insurer, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Company. The documents could reveal whether Penn State officials knew about inappropriate incidents regarding Sandusky decades ago and chose not to alert the insurance company.

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Penn State President: No Evidence Paterno Knew About Sandusky Assault in 1976

Penn State president Eric Barron (Michelle Bixby, Penn State) and Joe Paterno (Richard Paul Kane, Shutterstock)

Left: Penn State president Eric Barron (Michelle Bixby, Penn State) Right: Joe Paterno (Richard Paul Kane, Shutterstock.com)

Penn State University president Eric Barron denounced a string of new allegations about the extent of the university’s knowledge of Jerry Sandusky‘s sexual abuse of children, and criticized the media for continuing to scrutinize the school, four years after Sandusky was convicted on dozens of sexual assault charges.

Barron shared his thoughts in a letter that was posted on Penn State’s website on Sunday, while the university was still reeling from the deluge of claims about Sandusky, who continues to cast a haunting shadow over the school even while he festers behind bars.

The first shockwave hit last Wednesday, in court documents tied to a legal battle between Penn State and its general liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Company, over the more than $90 million in settlements that the university has paid out to Sandusky’s victims. Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Glazer wrote that PMA claims a boy told late football coach Joe Paterno in 1976 that he’d been abused by Sandusky. The insurance company also claims that two assistant coaches witnessed inappropriate contact between Sandusky and children in the late 1980s, and that another molestation claim had been reported to an athletic director around that same time.

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Court Docs: Joe Paterno Knew About Sandusky’s Child Sex Abuse in 1976

Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach, raises fingers in a victory gesture after Penn State defeated North Carolina State 19-10 at University Park, Pennsylvania, Saturday, Nov. 11, 1978.

Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach, after a victory over North Carolina State on November 11, 1978.

Did Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno know about Jerry Sandusky’s horrific pedophiliac ways 40 years ago?

That disturbing possibility was raised in a court filing Wednesday, as part of an ugly legal battle between Penn State and the university’s commercial general liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Company. At the heart of the dispute is whether PMA should cover some or all of the $60 million the university has paid out in settlements to victims of Sandusky in recent years, based on what Penn State officials knew about Sandusky — and when.

Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Glazer referenced a long-ago alleged report of abuse in an opinion that delved into the particulars of Penn State’s various policies with PMA. The line that grabbed the most attention, of course, referred to Paterno. Read more »

Jerry Sandusky Appears in Pa. Court to Appeal Conviction

AP_JERRY-SANDUSKY-940X540

Update, 4 p.m.: Jerry Sandusky attended Monday’s hearing wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, according to ABC News. As he entered the courthouse, Sandusky reportedly told reporters to “read what has been written,” and offered no other commentary on his chances for a new trial.

The presiding judge, John Cleland, questioned Sandusky’s attorney Al Lindsay as to whether there really is a strong enough argument for him to grant an evidentiary hearing almost four years after his client’s conviction.  Read more »

CCP, Kutztown U. Get Muzzle Awards for “Stifling Free Speech”

Community College of Philadelphia's Mint Building. (Photo by CCPedu via Wikimedia Commons)

Community College of Philadelphia’s Mint Building. (Photo by CCPedu via Wikimedia Commons)

In the movie business, one award that you don’t want to get is the Golden Rasberry. Known as The Razzies, they are bestowed upon the worst films to hit theaters. Well, it turns out that higher education has a similarly tongue-in-cheek award known as the Muzzles, and two Pennsylvania schools have made the cut. Read more »

Donald Trump in Pittsburgh: “How’s Joe Paterno?”

Donald Trump was in Pittsburgh last night, rallying a large crowd in advance of the Pennsylvania primary later this month. As politicians do, he attempted to pander to local sports teams. In Philadelphia, pols have been telling us they gambled on Villanova and won their bracket pools because of it. In Pittsburgh last night, Trump mentioned … Joe Paterno!

“How’s Joe Paterno?” Trump said. “We gonna bring that back? How ’bout that whole deal?”

A Trump campaign spokesperson later told CNN that he meant the Joe Paterno statue, which was taken down in 2012 amid the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. “He was talking about the Penn State bronze statue that they melted down,” the spokeswoman said. Read more »

Temple Is Playing at Penn State on September 17th This Year

Students in the Temple Owls student section cheer during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 5, 2015. Temple defeated Penn State 27-10. Photo | Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Students in the Temple Owls student section cheer during the fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 5, 2015. Temple defeated Penn State 27-10. Photo | Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Temple beat Penn State for the first time since 1941. That’s 74 years! Next season, they’ll travel to Happy Valley to try to make it two in a row. Temple announced that that game will be on September 17th when the team announced its 2016 football schedule.

Temple rallied from a 10-point deficit and ended up beating the Nittany Lions going away, 27-10, at the Linc last season. But winning on the road is a tougher matter altogether: The Owls lost 30-13 the last time they played in State College, and Penn State was 6-1 at home last season. Read more »

Why PSU Frat Whistleblower Wants to Keep Case in Philadelphia

Former Kappa Delta Rho member James Vivenzio and his lawyer Aaron Freiwald.

Former Kappa Delta Rho member James Vivenzio and his lawyer Aaron Freiwald last June.

The battle over the venue of former Penn State student James Vivenzio‘s court case against the university continued this morning when a judge heard a motion filed by Vivenzio’s lawyer, Aaron Freiwald, to keep the case in Philadelphia.

James Keller, the university’s attorney, attempted in September to have the case relocated to Centre County, where Penn State is located and where Vivenzio alleges that he was hazed by receiving cigarette burns and being forced to drink vile alcoholic concoctions. Read more »

Doylestown’s Liam Fennecken Makes Academy of Music Debut

Liam Fennecken 3

The first thing Liam Fennecken is going to do once he gets to Philly is hit the flagship Wawa on Broad and Walnut. He hasn’t been yet, and he’s through trying to explain the store to his Once touring cast members.

“I’m so excited,” he said. “It’s such a Philly-specific thing that people just don’t understand.”

Fennecken, who grew up in Doylestown and went to Archbishop Wood High School, is making his Philadelphia professional theatrical debut this January in Once, the Irish-infused Broadway musical coming to the Academy of Music. He tackles the role of Svec, and has to do a lot more than just sing and act; he plays four instruments on stage. We caught up with the multitalented performer who received his theater training at Penn State.

You’re the second person I’ve talked to recently who came out of the theater program from Penn State and is touring as a lead with a Broadway show. I’m curious to hear about your experience at the college and how it prepared you.
I loved it. First of all, I wasn’t even looking to go into theater. I went into Penn State as an Animal Science major, which is still a passion of mine. I started going and seeing the shows and thought, “Why am I not doing that?” I really lucked out and decided that I wanted to do theater for my life. It’s such a wonderful program: All of the faculty and teachers have worked in the industry for years and are supportive and help get you connections outside of school. Read more »

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