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As Vanderbilt Case Unfolds, Franklin Aware Of Sensitive Penn State Community In Wake Of Sandusky Scandal

by on May 01, 2014 6:00 PM

Following his name being brought to the forefront of the Vanderbilt football rape investigation earlier this week, James Franklin says that he's aware of how sensitive the Penn State community is in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The ongoing case is an issue he hopes to be as transparent about as possible about despite the nature of a still open investigation. 

"Yes, but it's difficult," Franklin said about keeping fans in the loop about his involvement in the investigation. "I feel like I said everything that I wanted to say this past Tuesday and in my opening press conference. We cooperated fully with the authorities, and it was fully investigated by the authorities and Vanderbilt's internal council and external council."

"This is a legal matter though, and that's really about all I can say. I want to be as open and transparent as I can but with this being a legal matter that's about all I can say."

Franklin's name recently resurfaced in the investigation of four Vanderbilt players charged with raping a female Vanderbilt student last year. A defense filing stated that Franklin made contact with the alleged victim, a girl who had worked within the program helping Franklin with recruiting. Franklin removed five players from the Vanderbilt football program following the charges and allegations.

"The allegations that I did something wrong are simply not true," Franklin said in a statement released by Penn State on Tuesday. "I have cooperated fully with the authorities in this matter, but out of respect for the legal process I am not able to comment any further."

Lead prosecutor and Nashville Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman defended Franklin following the filing in an interview with Philly.com.

"Obviously, it wasn't for any purpose of covering up or anything like that," Thurman said. "It was showing support, which was a nice thing to do. That's the only contact I know about. I think she worked at the [Vanderbilt] football office part-time. I think she was on the dance team. It wasn't really that relevant to us."

While speaking briefly about the case during an interview period prior to Penn State's first coaching caravan stop, Franklin did acknowledge how the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal has made the Penn State community sensitive to the possibility of more bad news.

"I’m very sensitive to the situation I went through and that we went through at the former institution and I’m very sensitive to what we went through here, and I’m very very sensitive to it for society in general," Franklin said. "As a father of two daughters I take this stuff very seriously like everybody else does."

Franklin said he brought up the case during a team meeting on Wednesday but due to the ongoing investigation he did not go into detail about it with the team any further than he has in public.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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