Courtesy of PNC

Former player alleges vulgar hazing in federal lawsuit vs. Penn State, Franklin

Former Nittany Lion Isaiah Humphries has filed a lawsuit against Penn State University, head coach James Franklin and former teammate Damion Barber, per ESPN.

Humphries, who attended Penn State in 2018 before transferring to Cal, alleges hazing from Barber, linebacker Micah Parsons, defensive lineman Yetur Gross-Matos and linebacker Jesse Luketa. Per the report, those participants claimed they intended to make lower classmen such as Humphries "their b***h because this is a prison."

From there, the report only gets worse.

The participants allegedly referenced former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in their hazing efforts by claiming they were "going to Sandusky" the victims by wrestling them to the ground, restraining them and simulating a humping motion. The alleged hazing becomes more graphic from there, including upperclassmen holding younger players down while another "placed his genitals on the face of the underclassmen and even instances of the participants placing their genitals on the buttocks of the alleged victims, stroking their genitalia."

Philadelphia attorney Steven Marino will represent Humphries in the case.

"This is a family with a football pedigree," Marino said, referencing Isaiah's father, Leonard Humphries, who played at Penn State before being drafted by the Bills in the 1992 NFL Draft. "The father knows the coaches and told them what was happening to his son as it was reported to him by his son. No affirmative action was taken to protect this student athlete at that time."

In April 2019, the team went under investigation when a football player claimed he was "harassed, hazed and assaulted" by his teammates. While various players and team members were interviewed, nothing concrete was found as a result of the initial investigation and no criminal charges were filed.

"[The] investigation was triggered by an anonymous tip and the source of that tip was not my client," Marino said, inferring that the incident extends beyond Humphries.

In Humphries' new lawsuit, it is alleged that the Penn State coaching staff knew about the hazing, even observing it firsthand on multiple occasions, but did not act to stop it. Humphries also claims in the suit that his performance on the football field was "overly and unfairly scrutinized" because he reported the harassment.

"The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct," the University said in a statement after news of Humphries' suit broke. "In accordance with our processes, the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct carried out investigations of the plaintiff's claims independent from Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition, Penn State police investigated related allegations and forwarded the results of that investigation to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney (DA). The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued."

To continue reading, log into your account: