Judge Orders Release of Documents Regarding Claims Paterno Allegedly Knew of Sandusky Abuse

Joe Paterno
Joe Paterno

Sealed documents from a lawsuit that will be released publicly as ordered by a Philadelphia judge may contain details regarding claims that the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was told by a boy that he had been molested by Jerry Sandusky.

The request was made by The Associated Press among other news outlets. Judge Gary Glazer made the decision to release the records publicly within a month on Thursday, June 9th. This claim pertaining to Paterno was disclosed by Glazer in May when he made a ruling regarding payments made by Penn State’s insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co., to people claiming that Sandusky abused them. Sandusky was Paterno’s former assistant.

Glazer made his decision after he was the presiding judge on a hearing in which the lawyer for Penn State wanted him to meet with the victims before making his decision. According to Glazer, any identifying information about the victims will be kept private. On Friday, Penn State approved of Glazer’s decision to keep the alleged victims’ names private.

Glazer said the following in a written statement, “Under the state and federal constitutions and the common law… the public’s right of access to civil court records, and the public’s continued concern regarding the unfortunate events underlying this coverage action, weigh heavily in favor of unsealing the record.” The records contain reports from experts in which the settlements and the potential responsibility of the insurer were evaluated.

In a written statement, the judge said that Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co. had evidence alleging that an assistant coach witnessed Sandusky engaging in “inappropriate contact” with a child at Penn State in 1987. In addition, another person allegedly “witnessed sexual contact” between Sandusky and another child in 1988. According to what Penn State president Eric Barron stated in May, Penn State did not have evidence supporting what an alleged victim had claimed.

Paterno died from lung cancer in 2012. Prior to his death, Paterno said he did not get his first complaint against Sandusky until 2001. According to Penn State, it paid $92 million in settlements in regards to 32 civil claims of abuse by Sandusky starting in 1971. Sandusky claims he is innocent, and he is appealing a conviction in which he was convicted of 45 counts for abusing ten boys.