Violent hazing alleged at PSU in lawsuit

Penn State football Cotton Bowl coaches press conference

A former Penn State football player has accused four ex-teammates of hazing him and claims coach James Franklin retaliated against him after he reported it, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. Middle District Court.

"I am going to Sandusky you", was a threat also voiced by the supposed abusers in reference to disgraced former Coach Jerry Sandusky, who is in prison for molesting young boys, Humphries claims.

© Tony Avelar, AP Isaiah Humphries, who now plays at Cal, has sued Penn State over alleged hazing in the football program. Parsons is projected to be among the top defensive players in college football next season, while Gross-Matos is the third-ranked defensive end prospect in the 2020 NFL draft, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper.

Humphries also claims in the lawsuit that he was "ostracized and shunned" by other members of the football team, who allegedly conspired to "create an existence...designed to encourage him to leave Penn State University and resign from its football program". Humphries says numerous upperclass players would sexually and violently haze freshman while saying phrases like "I am going to f*ck you" and "I am going to Sandusky you". He later transferred to the University of California.

"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". He seeks unspecified financial damages for the harm he says it caused to his football career and to his physical and mental health.

The suit alleges, among other things, that participants in the alleged harassing would place their genitals in the faces of players who were pinned to the floor. "Hazers also stole their targets' clothes, Humphries says".

Humphries claims that both he and his father - a former Penn State standout and National Football League player - reported the alleged hazing to Franklin and other members of the coaching staff, but "no substantive action was taken" by Franklin or the other coaches, nor did Franklin or any other coaches report the allegations to "appropriate individuals or offices" at the university. That August suit on behalf of Dr. Scott Lynch alleges that Franklin pushed Lynch to medically clear players.

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

When Humphries began exploring transfer options, Franklin's staff allegedly provided negative reviews about his performance to prospective programs as another form of retaliation, the lawsuit alleges.

Penn State released a statement Tuesday afternoon that an internal investigation was already conducted on the matter.

"The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct".

Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response investigated the case, and Damion Barber was punished as a result. "The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued".

Humphries left Penn State after 2018.

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