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Report: Joe Paterno knew about sexual abuses at Penn State in 1976

Posted at 7:36 PM, May 05, 2016

According to a report from PennLive, former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was informed about his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing children as early at 1976. 

The report cited court documents that were uncovered during a case with an insurance company as Penn State is hoping to recoup losses the university incurred defending itself from civil cases involving victims of Sandusky. According to PennLive, the bombshell was delivered in one line of the court documents. 

"In 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky," the document read. 

Court documents also stated that Penn State assistant coaches were notified of improper contact between Sandusky and juveniles in the late 1980s. One case made it all the way to then Penn State Athletic Director Jim Tarman. 

Paterno's family declined the allegations claimed in the court documents. 

"Over the past four-and-a-half years Joe Paterno's conduct has been scrutinized by an endless list of investigators and attorneys," the Paterno family's attorney, Wick Sollers, said in a statement to PennLive.

"Through all of this review there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by Coach Paterno. To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate.

"An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts. Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky."

Penn State University is hoping to win back up to $60 million in legal fees the university has spent in civil cases involving Sandusky in recent years. 

Following a two-year grand jury investigation, revelations that Sandusky was involved in abusing dozens of children came to light. Sandusky, an assistant under Paterno from 1969 to 1999, was sentenced to 60 years in prison for multiple incidents of sexual abuse of minors. 

It was revealed that Paterno and other Penn State administrators had prior knowledge of Sandusky's crimes. Paterno was fired before the end of the 2011 season, and a statue of the long-time head coach was removed from campus. 

Since Paterno's passing in 2012, many Penn State fans have called on the university to redisplay the statue.