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Penn State Must Give Millions of Documents to Sandusky Victim, Including Freeh Report Materials

by on January 22, 2015 10:53 AM

One of Jerry Sandusky's victims is making progress on a lawsuit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, which has ordered Penn State to turn over millions of documents to the plaintiff.

Many of the roughly 3.5 million documents in question relate to the report complied by former FBI director Louis Freeh in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Penn State must also produce any documents detailing any knowledge or investigation of Sandusky's abuse.

The plaintiff in the case -- a Sandusky victim referred to as John Doe D in the lawsuit, and as victim nine in the Sandusky criminal case -- filed his lawsuit against Sandusky and Penn State in Nov. 2013. He seeks monetary relief from both defendants as "compensatory and punitive damages" for the long-lasting psychological harm he claims to have suffered as a result of Sandusky's sexual abuse.

The victim alleges that Penn State was aware of Sandusky's history of abuse and failed to properly oversee Sandusky and prevent the former football coach from abusing him.

The discovery process in the case had been proceeding slowly, though the judge had previously ordered that all relevant documents be exchanged by early February. Last month, the victim's attorneys expressed their exasperation to the court through a filing that asked a judge to force Penn State to turn over millions of documents related to Sandusky's abuse and the Freeh report.

"For the substantial majority of these requests, the University has provided either no response or an incomplete response," attorneys for the victim wrote in the December filing.

Between June and August, the victim made numerous requests for documents from Penn State, including requests for: any documents relating to knowledge of incidents of Sandusky's abuse, any documents relating to the Freeh report, documents relating to university police procedures and polices, documents relating to Sandusky's retirement, documents relating to Penn State's relationship with Sandusky's charity the Second Mile, and more.

In order to make those requests more manageable, the plaintiff's attorneys say they met with Penn State representatives to negotiate a timeline for the production of the documents. Though the plaintiff's filing says Penn State agreed to produce some documents on "an accelerated schedule... the University still has not complied with all of these requests." The plaintiff had also agreed to provide search terms for the Freeh database, though no response to these search terms were ever provided.

"There is simply no excuse for any further delay," the plaintiff's request reads.

The court was convinced by their argument, and ordered Penn State to turn over the 3.5 million documents earlier this month.

However, the litigation is still on hold while Penn State appeals a March 24, 2014 ruling in the case. Penn State had requested the case be moved to a new court , which the judge denied. Penn State has since appealed that decision to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, leading the Philadelphia judge to concede "this civil action is stayed pending the final resolution of the Defendant's appeal."

Penn State has previously argued that it can not be held legally accountable for Sandusky's abuse because he was not an employee of the university at the time and the abuse against the victim did not occur on university property. 

Sandusky was convicted 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012, and is currently serving a 30 to 60 year prison sentence.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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