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Former Penn State Player Files Lawsuit Against Head Coach James Franklin

A former Penn State football player has filed a federal lawsuit against active head coach, James Franklin, former teammate Damion Barber, and the university.

It was reported on Tuesday by ESPN that former Nittany Lion, Isaiah Humphries, filed a federal lawsuit that alleges multiple Penn State players hazed Humphries during his time with the school.

Humphries alleged that Penn State players planned and conducted a campaign to harass and haze the underclassmen on the football team. The suit even alleges that the participants stated to the underclass players that they intended to make the young players “their b—- because this is prison.”

The details of suit say that Humphries was subject to hazing by Barber, linebacker Micah Parsons, defensive lineman Yetur Gross-Matos and linebacker Jesse Luketa. The suit also says that the coaching staff was aware of the hazing incidents and failed to protect Humphries.

Other disturbing examples of hazing practices that were alleged in the suit include a participants reference to former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky who is currently serving at least a 30 year prison sentence for sexually abusing children.

The suit states that one of the participants said “I’m going to Sandusky you.”

According to the suit those actions allegedly included, wrestling underclassmen players to the ground and keeping them restricted while they perform a simulated humping action, wrestling underclassmen to the ground while a different participant proceeded to put his genitals on the underclassmen’s faces, also they include times where the alleged participants placed genitals on the buttocks of the alleged victims and proceeded to stroke their genitalia.

Based on the lawsuit, Humphries alleges that the Penn State coaching was aware of the actions taking place in the Nittany Lions’ locker room.

Humphries also alleges in the suit that the Penn State coaching staff became overly critical his athletic performance after he reported the harassment. Additionally, he alleges he was punished by the coaching staff as a result of his report.

Humphries is now a member of the University of California football team. He departed from the team in 2018.

Penn State’s Response

The University has released a statement since the lawsuit has surfaced.

“The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of sexual misconduct. In accordance with our processes, The Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct carried out investigations independent from Intercollegiate Athletics,” said the university.

“In addition, Penn State police investigated related allegations and forwarded the results of that investigation to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney. The DA reviewed the case and decided no charges would be pursued.”

The Attorney’s Response

Humphries’ attorney, Steven Marino, also released a statement that was reported by ESPN.

“Isaiah attended the school during the calendar year of 2018. He leaves Penn State to another school where he’s offered a scholarship in December, ” Marino said.

“The events that arise to an investigation conducted by Penn State’s office of Sexual Misconduct and Response, that doesn’t arise until May 2019. That investigation was triggered by an anonymous tip and the source of that tip was not my client.” Marino continued.

“The father knows what the coaches and told them what was happening to his son as it was reported by to him by his son,” said Marino. “No affirmative action was taken place to protect this student athlete at that time.”


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