A lawsuit contends that upperclassmen violently and sexually hazed players, sometimes in front of coaches.
Penn State University says it did investigate allegations of violent and sexual hazing that are now at the center of a lawsuit filed Monday that contends head coach James Franklin and others ignored reports of such behavior.
The university also said the Centre County District Attorney’s Office reviewed a Penn State Police investigation and declined to file criminal charges.
University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said in a statement: “The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct. In accordance with our processes, the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct carried out investigations of the plaintiff’s claims independent from Intercollegiate Athletics.
“In addition, Penn State police investigated related allegations and forwarded the results of that investigation to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney (DA). The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued.”
The lawsuit names the university, Franklin, and ex-teammate Damion Barber as defendants in the case. In the suit, Humphries also claims players Micah Parsons, Yetur Gross-Matos and Jesse Luketa facilitated a campaign to harass and haze the lowerclassmen. The lawsuit also claims Barber was found in violation of the university’s anti-hazing policy.
Players made unwanted sexual contact and threats such as “I am going to Sandusky you,” Humphries claims in the lawsuit.
The abuse resulted in Humphries giving up his football scholarship at Penn State and transferring to the University of California, the lawsuit states. Humphries is now seeking unspecified financial damages for the harm it caused to his football career, along with severe physical and emotional distress.
In 2018, Pennsylvania strengthened its anti-hazing laws to protect students partly as a response to the death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, a Penn State student who died in February 2017 after being hazed at a fraternity.