This morning’s release of newly-unsealed documents from the Penn State-Sandusky child abuse settlement law suits brought to light a lot of new information, including hundreds of Fifth Amendment answers by the former athletic director and a disconcerting but completely unsurprising account of Joe Paterno brushing aside a child’s account of sexual abuse in favor of football. Among the documents rests another story, that of John Doe 102, which is emblematic of the self-serving, predatory conduct in which it seems nearly every person involved in this shitshow took part.
At the time, John Doe 102 was a 16-year old occupant of the Nittany House, a male-only haven for troubled youths and alternative to the Centre County Youth Detention. While in operation, the house was within a 10-minute drive from the Penn State football facilities. The released deposition does not list details of the alleged assault, mentioning only in later questioning with the university’s insurance coverage counsel that a golf course was involved. Penn State has operated a pair of golf courses on its campus since 1926, according to Penn Live.
Following the assault, Doe informed a female student working at the Nittany House that he had been sexually assaulted by Sandusky, only to be told he would likely be in trouble for sneaking out of the house if he went straight to the house director, Clifford Gordon. The student advised him to instead go to a female assistant working at the house, whose name was redacted in the document.
When Doe sought out the unnamed assistant, according to the deposition, Gordon was called in anyways. When Doe told the Gordon about the incident, the coordinator yelled at Doe for sneaking out and attempted to “poke holes” in his story.
A: ...at first, I guess I was being yelled at for, like I said, breaking the rules and then presenting this story to him, and then I got the impression he thought I was lying to him; and then at some point they stopped questioning me and talked amongst themselves.
Q: And themselves being [REDACTED] and Gordon?
Q: And did they send you back to your room?
A: No, I was at — we had like a dining area, I don’t know if I’d call it a dining room, but there was a big dining room table, and I was sitting out there; they gave me a chair and made me turn around and face the wall, seemingly as far away from that office as I could be while they talked.
Several hours later, with Doe still sitting in the chair facing the wall, Doe saw Sandusky and a man presumed to be athletic director Jim Tarman exit the premises. (Doe said he could not testify under oath that it was Tarman for sure, saying that he remembered the names “Harman” or “Carman” after the incident.) The pair likely entered the house through the back door, as Doe testified the men would have had to walk past him to get to the office had they entered through the main entrance.
While Sandusky and the other man left, Doe was informed by Gordon he would have to pen an apology letter to the pair for “telling lies,” and that his time at the Nittany House was likely coming to an end. As a homeless youth, Doe knew the unnamed alternative option.
A: ...the threat all along was that if you had to get removed from Nittany House, you got put into Centre County Youth Detention until they figured out what to do with you after that, send me to another group home.
Q: Which is a more serious—
A: It’s a prison for juveniles.
More yelling and screaming from Gordon ensued following Sandusky’s departure. Declaring himself done with the ordeal, Doe walked to a closet in the house, grabbed a coat and “just hauled ass,” sprinting out and away from the house at 9 a.m. He was eventually caught and placed in another facility, absolving him of Gordon’s apology letter requirement.
Q: So at no point did you write the apology letter?
Q: —that Mr. Gordon described?
A: No. But the minute I walked out of that door, their responsibility was to notify the police, and as far as they were concerned, I’m sure I was not their problem anymore.
We’ll have more updates from today’s document release.