Penn State’s legal settlements with Jerry Sandusky’s accusers cover alleged abuse dating to 1971, which was 40 years before his arrest, the university said Sunday, providing the first confirmation of the time frame of abuse claims that have led to big payouts.
The disclosure came as Penn State President Eric Barron decried newly revealed allegations that former football coach Joe Paterno was told in 1976 that Sandusky had sexually abused a child and that two assistant coaches witnessed either inappropriate or sexual contact in the late 1980s. Paterno, who died in 2012, had said the first time he had received a complaint against Sandusky was in 2001.
Barron said the accusations were unsubstantiated, and suggested that the university is being subjected unfairly to what he called rumor and innuendo.
Responding to questions about the president’s statement and claims against the school, university spokesman Lawrence Lokman told The Associated Press he could confirm that the earliest year of alleged abuse covered in Penn State’s settlements is 1971.
Sandusky graduated from Penn State in 1965 and returned as a full-time defensive coach in 1969.
I suspect the allegations will go back further than the 1970s. It appears that Sandusky was a prolific serial rapist, and it is unlikely he began abusing boys after he graduated from Penn State.
This information also supports my suspicion that people knew about the abuse and did nothing. It is difficult to believe that someone like Sandusky, who was brazen in his actions, went undetected for 40 years.
The question now is what would happen if anyone could prove that Penn State or the Second Mile or other authority figures covered up the abuse. Given the age of many of the accusations, most of them would be outside of the statute of limitations. The victims would only be able to file civil suits. Aside from that and possibly firing anyone who knew and failed to report, I do not think there is much anyone could do.