After Penn State football hazing lawsuit, DA explains reason no charges were pursued

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The Centre County district attorney issued a statement to news outlets explaining the investigating procedures regarding recent hazing allegations against the Penn State football program.  

In doing so, DA Bernie Cantora asked anyone with possible information relating to any possible actions to come forward.

Though no criminal charges were filed when his office initially reviewed the allegations and any evidence, Cantora’s statement makes it known that the case is not necessarily closed, either.

A lawsuit filed this week alleges that football coach James Franklin forced defensive back Isaiah Humphries out of the program after he reported violent, sexual hazing by other members of the team. 

Here is the district attorney’s statement, according to Lions247Sports:

“As you all know it’s the policy of the Centre County District Attorney’s Office not to discuss ongoing criminal investigations nor to discuss cases where criminal charges have not been filed. Nevertheless, given recent events we are issuing this statement to briefly address some questions arising from the allegations presented in Isaiah Humphries’ recent filing in federal court.

“As previously reported in the press, in April 2019 our office received a report regarding serious allegations of crimes of a sexual nature involving the Lasch Building. An investigation into those allegations was undertaken. Witnesses were identified who would have knowledge or evidence and information regarding those events. Police interviewed those witnesses along with other university students and staff. These investigative reports have been reviewed by our office.

“As of today’s date, that investigation does not substantiate the serious allegations made. What I mean by that is that the evidence doesn’t meet the high threshold of filing and proving criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on that review no charges have been filed.

“These are very serious allegations. If there are individuals who have information regarding them they can contact the Centre County detective at the Centre County District Attorney’s Office. I can assure you that information will be followed up.

“Other than that statement and any clarification you might need, I will have no further comment on the matter.”

Humphries’ 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. Barber, who graduated Harrisburg High School a year ahead of Parsons, was a red-shirt sophomore this past season. 

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.  

Humphries’ attorney, Steven F. Marino of Philadelphia, also represents a former team doctor who is suing Penn State

On Tuesday, Penn State said in a statement that the university’s Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response, Office of Student Conduct and Penn State Police all investigated Humphries’ allegations. Police forwarded the case to the Centre County District Attorney’s office, which decided not to pursue criminal charges. 

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