By Peter Gleason
The Penn State sexual abuse investigation just keeps getting worse for the legacy of legendary coach Joe Paterno.
After four years of feuding over that legacy, with a few vague details about what he may have known about allegations of sexual abuse by one of his coaches, it is becoming clear there may be much more.
There are now two allegations by men who say they were sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky, who also say they reported their abuse to the legendary coach in the 1970s.
One of those allegations was made public in a court order related to a lawsuit Penn State University filed against its former insurer over who should have to pay settlements to the more than 30 men who have come forward as victims of Sandusky. The victim was not identified, and the details come from a deposition that is sealed.
The other has spoken to CNN, in great detail, explaining how he was a troubled young kid in 1971 when he was raped in a Penn State bathroom by Jerry Sandusky. Then, he says, his complaint about it was ignored by Paterno.
“I’d be willing to sit on a witness stand and confront Joe Paterno,” he told CNN last year. “Unfortunately he died and I didn’t get to.”
Joe Paterno’s death in January 2012, just two months after Sandusky’s initial arrest, has greatly complicated his legacy. He died before he was able to be thoroughly interviewed by authorities. The lack of details about what he knew, and when, has caused a great division among Penn State fans.
Four years later, much of Central Pennsylvania is still frozen in time, the ambiguity of Paterno’s involvement leaving his supporters in limbo.
But for many of the victims, it’s not ambiguous. Like for Victim A, a 60-year-old State College native and Sandusky’s oldest known victim.
He has never before spoken publicly about the abuse, or what happened afterward, but he did confide in a friend in the 1970s, and that friend has also verified his story to CNN.
In addition, a Pennsylvania State Trooper, a longtime friend of this man, also confirmed to CNN that days after Sandusky’s initial arrest in November 2011, he told the trooper his story.
Around that same time, this alleged victim hired a lawyer who alerted the state Attorney General’s Office and also Penn State University to his existence. Neither investigative body ever interviewed the man, since he fell outside the statute of limitations for both criminal and civil cases.
He did however receive a settlement from Penn State, acknowledging that he was in fact a victim of Sandusky, although the settlement did not acknowledge that he was ignored by Paterno.
Sandusky was 27, a budding public figure who’d played football for Penn State in the 1960s and was one year into his tenure as an assistant linebacker coach. This was long before he started his now-closed children’s charity, The Second Mile, which prosecutors would later call his victim factory.
Victim A says he was hitchhiking when Sandusky picked him up, bought him beer, gave him pot — and then attacked him as he was standing at a urinal in a Penn State bathroom.
“I felt his presence behind me,” he said. “I felt his left knee on the back of my knee, and his arms went around me, grabbing my …” he trails off. “He said, ‘Let me help you with this.'”
Victim A said he jerked his head back, hitting Sandusky in the jaw. His head started bleeding and they both fell to the floor.
“Then there was a wrestling session,” he says. “And I lost. One thing led to another and the crime happened.”