Former Penn State player sues James Franklin and school over alleged hazing

Penn State football Cotton Bowl coaches press conference

Penn State head coach James Franklin during the Cotton Bowl coaches press conference on Dec. 27 2019. Joe Hermitt

A former Penn State football player claims he and other players in the program were violently hazed by teammates, and that head coach James Franklin and his coaching staff not only ignored it, but also retaliated against him after he reported it, he contends in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday. They also made threats they would "Sandusky" him, according to the lawsuit, referring to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who is serving 30 to 60 years for molesting young boys at the university. 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. Luketa allegedly threatened to have Humphries shot and killed if he ever entered "his city" in Canada. Humphries later renounced his scholarship at PSU and transferred to California. Humphries is now seeking unspecified financial damages for the harm it caused to his football career, along with severe physical and emotional distress. Some of the acts of sexual abuse occurred in the Lasch Building on Penn State's campus, where some of the alleged acts of hazing occurred.

The actions included wrestling underclassmen to the ground while maintaining restraint, simulating a "humping" action; wrestling underclassmen to the ground while another participant placed his genitals on the face of underclassmen; and even instances of the participants placing their genitals on the buttocks of the alleged victims, stroking their genitalia.

Humphries said in his suit filed Monday in federal court that multiple allegations of hazing were reported to Penn State's coaching staff and that nothing happened.

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He names the university, Franklin and ex-teammate, Damion Barber of Harrisburg, as defendants in the case.

Humphries' attorney is Steven Marino. That August suit on behalf of Dr. Scott Lynch alleges that Franklin pushed Lynch to medically clear players.

Numerous team members, and others associated with the football program, were interviewed and overwhelmingly they disclaimed, or flat out denied the allegations, with most saying it was just locker-room horseplay, or teammates joking around, and they felt that the original complaint came from a player looking for a quick transfer to another school.

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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", the school said in a statement. "This is Jerry." Considering Penn State's history, these references are quite shocking and troubling.

The investigations were carried out independent from Intercollegiate Athletics, Powers said.

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When he chose to leave, Penn State coaches gave negative reviews to their counterparts at other college programs to which he was considering transferring, Humphries contends.

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