Penn State coach James Franklin has been named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by a former player, according to the filings obtained by PennLive.com. Safety Isaiah Humphries alleges in his U.S. Middle District Court complaint that he was subjected to violent and "overtly sexual" hazing during his time at Penn State. The university and defensive lineman Damion Barber are also named as defendants in the case. Additionally, linebackers Micah Parsons and Jesse Luketa, as well as defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, are named in the suit as ringleaders for the abuse.
The suit is seeking unspecified damages. Penn State has not yet officially commented on the case.
According to the complaint, Humphries was subjected to intense hazing during his lone year with the Nittany Lions. The hazing allegedly took place in several areas on campus, including the Lasch Building. Humphries claims the alleged bullies would wrestle victims to the ground and shove their genitals in their faces. Other threats allegedly included assailants saying, "I am going to Sandusky you," referencing disgraced former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Franklin and his coaching staff allegedly not only ignored the tormenting but retaliated in response to Humphries coming forward. Humphries claims he was asked to do impossible conditioning drills and slandered when he tried to transfer out of the program. He also alleges that Luketa threatened to have him killed for coming forward.
WJAC reported in December that Penn State had launched an investigation into allegations of indecent assaults at the Lasch Building between January of 2018 and April of 2019:
The investigation was primarily fueled, according to a draft police report, by one football player who claimed he was harassed, hazed and assaulted by other 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.
One of the players accused was even given a lie detector test, which he passed.
Humphries, a member of Penn State's 2018 class, transferred to Cal for the 2019 season.