Penn State coaches' depositions unsealed in insurance fight

Penn State Abuse
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier (left) exits the Dauphin County Courthouse on July 29, 2013, in Harrisburg.

More previously sealed documents were released Friday from Penn State's fight with its insurance company over who should cover the costs of the nearly $93 million in legal settlements the university has paid Jerry Sandusky's accusers.

Most of the filings focus on the ongoing insurance dispute, but excerpts from new depositions of key university figures are included.

The documents come from the same trove of court filings that earlier this week revealed one Sandusky accuser claimed he reported his abuse to Penn State's iconic head football coach Joe Paterno in 1976.

They were unsealed by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Gary S. Glazer at the request of a coalition of news organizations including the Inquirer and the Daily News.

Here are the highlights from Friday's release:

FRAN GANTER, former Penn State assistant football coach and associate athletic director

Click here to read the Ganter deposition, dated Nov. 3, 2014

Ganter testified that he did not receive any specific training from the university on reporting sexual assaults or other crimes prior to Sandusky's arrest.

But, he said, every preseason Joe Paterno and university President Graham B. Spanier gave the athletics staff a talk on reporting any wrongdoing involving players.

Ganter recalled Spanier saying "any issue that was inappropriate or wrong, you gotta let us know . . . or you are fired."

Still, under questioning, Ganter said he didn't think seeing Sandusky shower with young boys was something he needed to report. "No, I did not think I should report that," he said.

GRAHAM B. SPANIER, former Penn State president currently facing child endangerment charges tied to the Sandusky scandal

Click here to read the Spanier deposition, dated May 29, 2015

Spanier is currently awaiting trial on accusations that he failed to take action after learning of McQueary's 2001 report to Paterno after witnessing Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in a campus locker room shower.

But in his 2015 deposition in the insurance case, Spanier maintained - as he has done since Sandusky's 2011 arrest - that the incident was described to him as more "horse play" than anything as serious as sexual assault. Still, he said, he was disturbed.

"We didn't want him to be doing that again. We agreed that he should have a directive that showering with his kids, presumably his Second Mile kids, [children enrolled in the Sandusky-founded charity for troubled youth], was not something that was appropriate for Penn State athletic facilities."

TOM BRADLEY, former Penn State assistant football coach, currently assistant coach at UCLA

Click here to read the Bradley deposition, dated May 22, 2015

The documents released Tuesday included a deposition from Mike McQueary, the star witness at Jerry Sandusky's trial who testified he told Paterno in 2001 after he saw Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State locker room shower. In it, McQueary said that he discussed the incident later with Bradley, who said he had heard similar reports about Sandusky in the past.

In the excerpt of Bradley's 2015 deposition released Friday, Bradley is not asked about any conversation he had with McQueary about past incidents involving Sandusky. Still, he said, McQueary did tell him about the 2001 assault he had witnessed. Bradley believed the story, he testified.

THOMAS R. HARMON, former Penn State police chief

Click here to read the Harmon deposition, dated Nov. 21, 2014

The former chief of the Penn State police department was deposed in a civil suit filed in Philadelphia by a "John Doe D" against Sandusky and the university. Harmon investigated a 1998 report from a mother who learned her son had showered with Sandusky in a Penn State locker room.

He told lawyers in his 2014 deposition that while he didn't think a crime had occurred he felt administrators "should have some concerns about it."

KAREN PEETZ, former chair of Penn State's board of trustees

Click here to read the Peetz deposition, dated Jan. 14, 2014

In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, Peetz forwarded a 2012 ESPN.com article criticizing the culture around Paterno and Penn State football to the university's former provost, Bill Richardson, describing it as "the best summation I have read of the factors that led to the horrible abuses we now know were inflicted on many children over many years in Happy Valley."

Asked to explain in her deposition what she meant by that comment, Peetz testified: "In hindsight, there were factors and drivers, not the least of which was a lack of understanding of what should be reported, when it should be reported, who should report it, etcetera etcetera. At the worst case, there were people who were aware."

jroebuck@phillynews.com

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