In 2014, a man testified that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to new court documents unsealed Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Four other former assistant football coaches at the school also were aware of Sandusky acting inappropriately with boys before law enforcement was first notified in 1998, according to testimony contained in the documents.

The allegations suggest that Paterno may have been made aware of Sandusky’s actions far earlier than has previously been reported, and that knowledge of Sandusky’s behavior may have been far more widespread among the Penn State football staff than was known.

Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, both former Penn State assistants named in the documents, denied the allegations Tuesday.


The testimony of multiple victims who have settled with Penn State, and of former assistant Mike McQueary – who witnessed Sandusky raping a boy on campus in 2001 – comes as the specifics of what Paterno and others knew about Sandusky and when are still being debated in courts and in the court of public opinion.

The trove of documents unsealed Tuesday came from a legal dispute between the university and an insurance company over the responsibility for nearly $93 million the school paid in settlements with victims. Additionally, the Paterno family is suing the NCAA for defamation and commercial disparagement; the NCAA is considering using some of the information released Tuesday in its defense.

In the Penn State community, an alumni group is pushing for a bronze statue of Paterno to be restored on campus, and for the university to repudiate a 2012 report by former FBI director Louis Freeh that blamed Paterno, other university leaders and a “culture of reverence for the football program” for Sandusky’s rampant sexual abuse.

Paterno died of lung cancer in 2012, just months before Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys and sentenced to 30 to 60 years. Sandusky, 72, is appealing his conviction.

The 1976 victim, identified in court records as John Doe 150, said that while he was attending a football camp at Penn State, Sandusky molested him. Doe testified that he specifically told Paterno, who ignored it.

“Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, ‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?'” the man’s lawyer asked.

“Yes … I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted. … I said, is that all you’re going to do?”

Paterno, the man testified, just walked away.


The man testified he never told law enforcement or his family about the incident.

The documents include no other independent corroboration of the incident, and the Paterno family released a statement questioning the testimony.

“Joe Paterno never engaged in a cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s crimes,” the family said. “The materials released today relating to Joe Paterno allege a conversation that occurred decades ago where all parties except the accuser are now dead. In addition, there are numerous specific elements of the accusations that defy all logic and have never been subjected to even the most basic objective examination.”

In 2011, Paterno testified to a grand jury he first became aware of possible abuse by Sandusky in 2001, when McQueary told him he had witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in a shower. Paterno said then he knew of no other similar event involving Sandusky and a boy.

Sandusky was a longtime defensive coach for Paterno who met most of his victims through Second Mile, a charity he created in 1977 to help underprivileged youth. He often brought Second Mile children to the football team’s facilities on campus.

While law enforcement only first became aware of allegations against Sandusky in 1998, the documents released Tuesday include several incidents in the 1980s and 1990s when Penn State football coaches and officials were aware of improper behavior by Sandusky around boys.

In 1987, according to a man identified as John Doe 75, he was a 13-year-old boy when Sandusky put his hand down the boy’s shorts. Assistant coach Joe Sarra saw them and left the room, Doe 75 testified.

Sarra died in 2012.