The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

New Charges in Jerry Sandusky Scandal; More Lawsuits to Come?

Big news coming out of Penn State today. Former university president Graham B. Spanier has been charged with eight criminal counts, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. And he isn't the only one charged today. Fellow ex-Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are now facing additional charges as well.

Curley was Penn State's athletic director. Schultz was the university's senior vice president.

These charges come after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, in which the former assistant coach was convicted of sexually abusing young boys. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Sandusky's abuse took place over several years. The abuse was brought to the attention of university officials, as some of the acts took place on school grounds.

But the university officials took no action, in what Pennsylvania State Attorney General Linda Kelly is calling a "conspiracy of silence by top officials at Penn State."

Lawsuits in the Sandusky aftermath are emerging. Some are defamation lawsuits, such as the one brought by Mike McQueary, who worked as a graduate assistant and claimed that he witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in a Penn State locker room.

Other lawsuits are for infliction of emotional distress, by the boys who were abused by Jerry Sandusky.

But the one question to ask is why Penn State went ahead and kept Sandusky on board, when school officials allegedly knew that such acts were taking place.

Why risk the potential of lawsuits?

While there are many grounds to bring a lawsuit, negligent retention is certainly one that could be asserted in light of the alleged Sandusky cover-up. When an employer keeps an employee on staff, despite the fact that the employee might be a hazard to others, there may be a case for negligent retention or negligent supervision.

But sometimes, keeping a dangerous employee on staff amounts to more than negligence. When there is knowledge of a hazard and the issue is covered up by those who know about it, we're looking at recklessness and not negligence -- especially when the implications are so serious and when children are at risk of serious harm.

Now, these former Penn State university officials will be dealing with the repercussions of their alleged recklessness in criminal court.

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