A former Penn State University football player is suing the school and the head coach.
In a civil lawsuit filed on Monday in Pennsylvania federal court, former player Isaiah Humphries claims that some of his teammates made sexual references and gestures, wrestled him to the floor, and made references to Jerry Sandusky.
The suit names the university, head coach James Franklin, and a former teammate as defendants.
Humphries claims he reported the incident to Franklin and the coaching staff, but “no substantive action was taken” in response by Franklin or the team.
Humphries, 20, alleges he was retaliated against for making the reports, including scorn from coaches, “irrational and inappropriate censure” by the team’s academic adviser and denial of medical accommodations to treat anxiety and narcolepsy. He believes he was also shunned by other players and said he received threats.
The lawsuit claims some of the older players would physically restrain younger players, taunt them and engage in mock sex acts. It further claims that starting in January 2018, several players “collectively orchestrated, participated in, directed and or facilitated a campaign to harass and haze lower classmen members of the Penn State football team,” including Humphries.
Humphries’ lawyer, Steven Marino, said it took courage for his client to come forward.
“And he wants to be vindicated — he didn’t leave Penn State because he wanted to,” Marino said late Tuesday. “He left Penn State because he was harassed, bullied, humiliated. He wasn’t protected, like he was entitled to be.”
Humphries transferred to the University of California last year.
Penn State University released a statement regarding the lawsuit:
"The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct. in accordance with our processes, the Office of Sexual Misconduct 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. The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued."