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Paterno son, other former assistant sue Penn State

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- A son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has sued the university over his dismissal from its coaching staff two years ago, saying he has been unfairly linked to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Former assistant coach Jay Paterno and another former assistant, Bill Kenney, filed a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia on Monday, seeking more than $1 million and a statement from the university saying they did nothing wrong related to Sandusky, who was convicted of abusing several boys, some on campus.

Paterno and Kenney said in the lawsuit that they and other coaches at Penn State were let go in early 2012 "at the height of the Sandusky scandal's dark shroud and without any attempt whatsoever by Penn State to preserve the reputations of these guiltless individuals."

Joe Paterno was fired as the Nittany Lions' coach before the end of the 2011 season, and his assistants took over for the last few games. Bill O'Brien, who was hired as coach in January 2012, replaced much of Paterno's staff.

Preserving Paterno's Tainted Legacy

In response to the claims in the lawsuit, Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said it's common practice for incoming head coaches to pick their own assistants. She declined to comment further.

Jay Paterno was on the coaching staff for 17 seasons, mostly as quarterbacks coach, and Kenney spent 23 years as an offensive assistant and recruiting coordinator.

Their lawsuit says Penn State's consent decree with the NCAA over the Sandusky scandal and its commissioned report into the matter led by former FBI director Louis Freeh have made it impossible for them to get hired for comparable positions in college or professional sports or in the media.

Kenney is now an assistant at Western Michigan University, and Paterno is a freelance sports writer and consultant with a book coming out soon.

Their lawsuit says they have been deprived of their constitutional liberty and property interest without due process of law, alleges intentional interference with contractual relations, says a civil conspiracy has occurred and charges that Penn State violated state wage law.

Joe Paterno died of lung cancer in January 2012, two months after Sandusky, his former longtime defensive coordinator, was charged with child sexual abuse. Sandusky was convicted of dozens of criminal counts and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence but maintains his innocence, acknowledging he showered with boys but denying he molested them.

O'Brien left Penn State for the NFL's Houston Texans. James Franklin's first season as Penn State's head coach starts Aug. 30.

Join the discussion

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HWOODTX61 July 22 2014 at 11:36 PM

Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney are just as guilty as Papa Joe and Sandookie because of their complicity and turning a blind eye to it all !

As the spokeswoman said,the New Coach has the right to pick his assistants.

Old Joe Poo knew NOTHING of True Sportsmanship,all he was concerned with was winning and setting a coaching record for himself !

Foul Old Rat !

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4 replies
tbplayer44 July 23 2014 at 12:40 AM

He wouldnt have had the job to begin with, had Daddy not been a big fan of nepotism. Shut up and live with the stigma that your father allowed children to be molested, and said nothing.

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1 reply
Ed tbplayer44 July 23 2014 at 4:54 AM

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY ever owed his job to nepotism more than Joe's brother George. The guy knew next to nothing about football in general and was particularly clueless when it came to the rules, but Joe had him stumbling through gamecasts on the Penn State network for years.

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1 reply
deebeedonny Ed July 23 2014 at 3:26 PM

Who is more guilty of nepotism than Tom Corbett who gave his own daughter a cushy job in the States Attorney Generals Office??????

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Drillsgt1843 July 22 2014 at 9:45 PM

Joe Paterno, you were simply the best and did not deserve to be the Penn State scapegoat. To thousands of us, you are still the greatest college coach of all time!

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13 replies
pangai July 23 2014 at 12:27 AM

He had a non-guaranteed personal services contract. This is more of a PR stunt to try and get a settlement rather than drag the University into another public trial. In truth, he has no case.

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peg2584 July 23 2014 at 12:52 AM

I'm sorry but this seems more like a PR stunt or just a plain money grab. All coaches at that level have no guarantee of employment. They can be fired at any time for whatever reason. And Penn State didn't fire them because of the scandal. They just did not have their contracts renewed when the new coach came to town. That happens every year to hundreds of coaches. This might seem harsh, but I hope they have to pay Penn State's legal fees for this maneuver (and as a Buckeye, I have Penn State).

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2 replies
Dan P peg2584 July 23 2014 at 9:05 AM

I am sure Jay is trying to keep his name in the press so he can sell a few more books. He is just like his dad, win at any cost. He shows no compasion for all those kids and the part he played in not stepping up and stopping his friend Jerry.

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Kathy Braden Dye peg2584 July 23 2014 at 2:53 PM

Those two SHOULD have to pay ALL legal fees for Penn State! This law suit is frivolous! He just wants attention. What he is getting is pity for being such a big baby! He needs to put on his big girls panties and GROW UP! The rest of us have had to face the world without having DADDY take care of us, it is high time he does too!

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billiejeannes July 23 2014 at 2:03 AM

Yo, if it was your butt getting abused , do you think daddy would have still turned a blind eye for his BUTTy buddy. too bad it didn't happen to you too , then we'd see which side of the line you are on.. again the almighty dollar rules, right? - have you no morals or compassion like those before you

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kcarthey July 23 2014 at 7:55 AM

Are all the Paternos whiners who have self elevated themselves to a position where they all believe they are in some way special? Old Joe proved that very wrong. May he live in the afterlife as a young boy in the showerroom with Sandusky.

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2 replies
srose287 kcarthey July 23 2014 at 8:24 AM

Perfect quote

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brud01 kcarthey July 23 2014 at 4:26 PM

sick you are real sick

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DJ July 23 2014 at 1:39 AM

" Paterno is a freelance sports writer and consultant with a book coming out soon." Translates to" I can't find a real job and I'm broke." A new coach comes in and brings his own staff. Reality bites. Good luck with the book.

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2 replies
b12345698765 DJ July 23 2014 at 12:25 PM

Hope he dosent sell a book

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Kathy Braden Dye DJ July 23 2014 at 2:54 PM

I hope NO ONE buys his books! He has been getting a free ride for too long!

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reelanimals July 23 2014 at 7:04 AM

I'm not a big penn state fan but I don't believe that Joe Paterno knew that Sandusky molested boys. After he was told of the shower incident he should have maybe reported it himself but I imagine he thought the person who SAW what happened would be better to report it. The fact that he ran a place for boys would not make someone suspious if he always had boys with him. Now ANYONE who shows interest in helping kids falls under suspicion thanks to this case

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3 replies
wlh1923 July 23 2014 at 8:45 AM

Jay Paterno? Lose of reputation? Loss of reputation for what? Wonk becomes quarterbacks "coach" because dad hired him. The athletic director (another wonk) was a Joe Paterno hire. Scandal or not, if 50 different candidates for coach at Penn State were hired after joe's death Jay Paterno wouldn't have been retained by any of them.

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