Violent hazing alleged at PSU in lawsuit

Ross Houston
January 15, 2020

Players made unwanted sexual contact and threats such as, "I am going to Sandusky you", Humphries claims in the lawsuit.

Puskar, AP This is a Penn State University logo on the side of a merchandise trailer outside Beaver Stadium, home of the Nitany Lions college football team, on the Penn State University main campus in State College Monday morning, July 23, 2012. The latter is, of course, an alleged reference to the former Penn State defensive coordinator serving a prison sentence on child sexual abuse charges.

Humphries' alleged abusers wrestled him to the ground, mimicked "a humping action" while on top of him and placed their genitals on his face, Marino wrote.

In its statement, the university says its Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct, which are both independent of the athletic department, plus Penn State police investigated Humphries' allegations and forwarded their findings to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney, which "reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued". Humphries sued the university, football coach James Franklin and former teammate Damion Barber.

The hazing alleged in the lawsuit included acts of physical intimidation and abuse, stolen items of clothing, and simulated sexual acts.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages against Penn State University, Franklin, and Barber for negligence in violating anti-hazing statutes. Humphries claims he was asked to do impossible conditioning drills and slandered when he tried to transfer out of the program.

When hazing victims like Humphries showed any signs of resistance, the lawsuit claims, they were intimidated, threatened, or bullied.

In retaliation for his report, Franklin and his staff required Humphries to participate in drills created to ensure his failure "to justify an opinion that (his) performance was not sufficient to award him a game playing opportunity", Marino wrote.

"Despite the harassment and hazing which was occurring in the football locker room having been reported to defendant coach James Franklin and other members of the Pennsylvania State University football team coaching staff no substantive action was taken by defendant James Franklin or other members of the coaching staff to prevent it".

Humphries contends that his complaints about the hazing - including one perpetrator, Ottawa-born Luketa, allegedly telling him that "I'm going to [Jerry] Sandusky you" - were reason for Franklin to force him out of the program.

Penn State also attempted to remove Humphries from the program "with the excuse of a medical retirement option" as a form of retaliation, according to the lawsuit. He was threatened with physical harm, he claims and told him if he "ever visited '(Luketa's) city' in the country of Canada that he would make certain that (Humphries) was gunned down upon arrival", the suit states.

Humphries is being represented by Philadelphia attorney Steven Marino, who says the incident is not isolated to just his client.

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