Attorney: Sandusky threatened victim
01:50 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: "I feel shame," student says at Penn State town hall

"I am hurting and have been for a long time," alleged victim says through attorney

Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and his attorney maintain his innocence

Penn State campus holds town hall to discuss the scandal

CNN  — 

A 29-year-old man alleged Wednesday that Penn State University former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused him dozens of times over several years during the 1990s, when he was a boy, his lawyer said.

The lawyer, Jeff Anderson, said his client is suing the school, Sandusky and the charity the coach founded.

The lawsuit is the first in a scandal involving the university’s former defensive coordinator, who has been accused in a grand jury report of sexual abuse against eight other boys over 15 years.

The accuser, identified as “John Doe A,” was not cited in the grand jury report, said Anderson, who said his client was 10 years old when he first met Sandusky.

Attorneys Anderson and Marci Hamilton said Sandusky had threatened to harm the alleged victim and his family if he told anyone of the alleged abuse, which they said occurred between 1992 and 1996.

The filing says Sandusky provided Joe Doe A with “gifts, travel, and privileges” while he attended The Second Mile camp, a nonprofit organization Sandusky founded for underprivileged children.

The lawsuit targets that organization, Sandusky and Penn State University, pointing to what it describes as an “institutional concealment” and “institutional failure” that allowed the former coach to “thrive and prosper.”

Sandusky allegedly molested victims dating back to the 1970s, according to the lawsuit.

Hamilton told reporters Wednesday that the alleged victim has come forward in an effort to protect other potential victims. The man spoke to authorities in Harrisburg on Tuesday, according to the attorneys.

“I never told anybody what he did to me over 100 times, at all kinds of places, until the newspapers” reported the alleged abuse, Anderson quoted the alleged victim as saying in a written statement.

“I am hurting and have been for a long time,” Anderson quoted the many as saying.

A spokeswoman for the school said in a statement that the school had not received the documents filed with the court.

“As with any litigation, we are unable to comment on specifics related to the case,” said Director of Public Information Lisa Powers.

In a statement, The Second Mile said, “We will review the lawsuit and respond appropriately when we have done so. The Second Mile will adhere to its legal responsibilities throughout this process. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

Sandusky’s ‘make-believe world’

Sandusky, 67, has maintained his innocence. His attorney, Joe Amendola, said Monday that he is working with a private investigator in an attempt to prove he is not guilty.

Read more on what Sandusky’s lawyer says of an accuser

Sandusky, who is free on $100,000 bail, is charged with 40 counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of victims he met through The Second Mile.

Sandusky, the longtime Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator, told NBC’s Bob Costas that he has been falsely accused and that he only “horsed around” with kids in showers after workouts. Amendola also says Sandusky is innocent.

Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, and the school’s vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz, 62, were each charged with one count of felony perjury and one count of failure to report abuse allegations about Sandusky. Their preliminary court hearing is set for December 16 at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg.

In addition, Penn State President Graham Spanier and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno lost their jobs soon after Sandusky’s arrest, following criticism that the football program and university in general did not adequately handle the matter when allegations arose years earlier.

Penn State, meanwhile, held a town hall forum Wednesday at which university President Rodney Erickson and other campus leaders addressed the child sex scandal before a group of students.

Some students and administrators said the scandal had affected them profoundly.

“Sandusky was part of the Penn State family,” one woman said. “We all are, and I feel shame.” Her comment was met with a few moments of silence, then a smattering of applause. “What do I do with these feelings?” she asked.

“You have to acknowledge them,” said Hank Foley, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school. “You have to recognize how you feel admit it, and a lot of us feel similar feelings and there’s nothing wrong with feeling like that at all, and there’s nothing wrong with expressing that you feel that way either. I think it’s completely understandable.”

“All of us, I think, have cried publicly, have cried privately about this,” said Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. “I have several times.”

He predicted the school would lose some gifts, but added, “we’re not falling off the fundraising cliff by any measure at all.”

“I’m told only eight students have withdrawn their applications” from more than 40,000 that the school has received, President Rodney Erickson said, adding that applications this year are 4% more than last year.

Asked whether the school’s priorities would shift away from its vaunted football program, Erickson injected a rare bit of levity. “As most of our international students know, we don’t play real football here anyway, right?” he asked rhetorically. “It’s called soccer here.”

But, he added, “I don’t think that football ever has defined us. I hope that’s not the case nor that it ever will be. I’m a scholar, first and foremost, that happens to do administrative leadership work for the university.”

He denied rumors that a statue of Paterno would be taken down or that the Paterno Library would be renamed.

“At some appropriate time down the road, I’m sure there will be an opportunity to also reflect on the many years of service that Joe and (wife) Sue provided to the university,” Erickson said to applause.

Asked why Paterno had been let go before an investigation into what happened was complete, Erickson said he wanted to look forward. “We have to remember what happened here; we have to learn from it, but we also have to look ahead.”

CNN’s Scott Bronstein and journalist Sara Ganim contributed to this report.