HARRISBURG, Pa. — A man who claims to be the unknown victim molested in a Penn State shower by Jerry Sandusky in a case that led to Joe Paterno’s firing intends to sue the university for its “egregious and reckless conduct” that facilitated the abuse, his lawyers said Thursday.
The lawyers have done an extensive investigation and gathered “overwhelming evidence” on details of the abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, they said in a statement.
The identity of so-called Victim 2 has been a central mystery in the Sandusky case, and jurors convicted Sandusky last month of offenses related to him judging largely by the testimony of Mike McQueary, who was a team graduate assistant at the time and described seeing the attack.
“Our client has to live the rest of his life not only dealing with the effects of Sandusky’s childhood sexual abuse, but also with the knowledge that many powerful adults, including those at the highest levels of Penn State, put their own interests and the interests of a child predator above their legal obligations to protect him,” the lawyers’ statement said.
The university said in a statement that it was taking the case seriously but would not comment on pending litigation.
University President Rodney Erickson and the board of trustees, the school said, “have publicly emphasized that their goal is to find solutions that rest on the principle of justice for the victims.”
The statement from the man’s attorneys said Victim 2 suffered “extensive sexual abuse over many years both before and after the 2001 incident Michael McQueary witnessed.”
In recording of a pair of voicemails released with the statement and posted online by the lawyers, a voice that’s purportedly Sandusky’s expresses his love and says he wants to express his feelings “up front.”
The voicemails are dated Sept. 12 and Sept. 19, less than two months before the former Penn State coach was arrested on child sex abuse charges late last year.
The second voicemail asks whether Victim 2 would like to attend Penn State’s next game.
Sandusky left “numerous” voicemails for their client fall 2011, the attorneys said.
“Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of Victim 2 and other children is a direct result of a conspiracy to conceal Sandusky’s conduct and the decisions by top Penn State officials that facilitated and enabled his access to victims,” the statement read. “We intend to file a civil lawsuit against Penn State University and others and to hold them accountable for the egregious and reckless conduct that facilitated the horrific abuse our client suffered.”
A call seeking comment from Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, was not immediately returned.
Prosecutors have said they did not know the identity of the boy, and a message seeking comment from the attorney general’s office was not immediately returned. McQueary reported the abuse to school officials, including Paterno, but none of them told police.
The victim is not named in the statement, and The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sex crimes without their consent.
Sandusky awaits sentencing after being convicted of 45 sex abuse counts. Before his trial, Amendola said he had met with a man he believed he might be Victim 2 but that he had not been abused by Sandusky. Amendola said he was not convinced and did not intend to subpoena him, but also said Sandusky himself was insistent they had the right person.
The attorneys who released the statement include several based in Philadelphia and in State College, home to Penn State’s main campus and where the shower assault took place. The statement did not say when the lawsuit would be filed or contain details on what redress the plaintiff is seeking.
Trustees fired Paterno, who has since died, because he failed to do more about claims against Sandusky, and a scathing independent review said several top school officials looked the other way because they were afraid of bad publicity. The NCAA has vacated 112 Penn State wins.