It comes as no surprise, really, that media outlets are reporting that the first Pennsylvania state court lawsuit has been filed by a Sandusky victim against Penn State University. Apparently, the young man known as Victim #1 in the Sandusky criminal trial, has now filed suit seeking damages for physical and emotional injuries, as well as the expense of medical and psychological treatment currently, and in the future.
According to Victim #1’s lawsuit, he was introduced to Sandusky when he was 11 years old. Within a couple of years, Sandusky had taken an individual interest in the child, and shortly thereafter began sexually assaulting the boy. According to the lawsuit, there were more than 100 episodes of sexual abuse.
Consistent with the testimony provided in the discovery and trial phases of the Sandusky criminal trial, the central theme in the civil lawsuit seems like it will be that Penn State did not properly supervise Jerry Sandusky. In addition to a negligent supervision theory, we may see an attempt to claim punitive damages, as there are allegations that Penn State had actual knowledge of the abuse and consciously elected not to protect the child victims.
Penn State has previously, very publicly, committed to resolving all of these civil disputes in a way that provides justice to the victims.
As an Orlando child sexual abuse attorney, I am very curious to see how these civil court sexual abuse claims turn out. I sincerely hope that Penn State lives up to the public commitment it has made to these victims. So often – when money is on the line – institutions seem to put profit over principles. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen here.