As an insurance case connected to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse case continues to wind its way through the legal system, PennLive.com writes, ” a new bombshell” was dropped Thursday. According to the newspaper website, a court order in the case indicates that deceased former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was aware in 1976 of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky, the former Paterno right-hand man who was convicted of molesting at least 10 underage males victims during and after his long stint as a Nittany Lions assistant.
It’s further alleged in the order that Paterno did not tell his superiors of the allegations in 1976, nor subsequent allegations a decade later. From the report:
The line in question states that one of Penn State’s insurers has claimed “in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky.”
The order also cites separate references in 1987 and 1988 in which unnamed assistant coaches witnessed inappropriate contact between Sandusky and unidentified children, and a 1988 case that was supposedly referred to Penn State’s athletic director at the time.
“There is no evidence that reports of these incidents ever went further up the chain of command at PSU,” Judge Gary Glazer wrote, in determining that because Penn State’s executive officers weren’t aware of the allegations, he would not bar those claims from insurance coverage.”
Paterno supporters, including his family, have long argued that Paterno did nothing inappropriate and did not cover up for his former coach; Paterno himself admitted, though, in an interview before he was fired in the midst of the scandal in November of 2011, “I wish I had done more.”
Thursday, Paterno’s family once again rushed to the Hall of Famer’s defense in a statement.
Over the past four-and-a-half years Joe Paterno’s conduct has been scrutinized by an endless list of investigators and attorneys.
“Through all of this review there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by Coach Paterno. To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate.
“An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts. Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky.
The case in which the 1976 allegation was revealed involves Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co., which is arguing that it’s not responsible for reimbursing Penn State the more than $60 million it has paid out in Sandusky-related damages.
The 72-year-old Sandusky is currently serving 30-60 years after being convicted on 45 counts in a 48-count indictment.