Report: Child allegedly told Joe Paterno of Sandusky abuse in 1976

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A court order related to the millions of dollars owed to the victims of Jerry Sandusky says that Penn State coaches, including Joe Paterno, may have known of child abuse allegations against Sandusky as far back as 1976.

According to PennLive.com, a line in a court order claims one of Penn State’s insurers said a child “allegedly reported” to Joe Paterno in 1976 he was “sexually molested by Sandusky.” Sandusky, who is currently serving 30-60 years after being found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse, was a defensive assistant under Paterno from 1969-1999, when he retired. Paterno died in Jan. 2012.

The report also indicates other previously undisclosed allegations from 1987 and 1988.

From PennLive.com:

The order also cites separate references in 1987 and 1988 in which unnamed assistant coaches witnessed inappropriate contact between Sandusky and unidentified children, and a 1988 case that was supposedly referred to Penn State's athletic director at the time.

All, the opinion states, are described in victims' depositions taken as part of the still-pending insurance case, but that, according a PennLive review of the case file, are apparently under seal.

"There is no evidence that reports of these incidents ever went further up the chain of command at PSU," Judge Gary Glazer wrote, in determining that because Penn State's executive officers - its president and trustees - weren't aware of the allegations, he would not bar claims from that time frame from insurance coverage.

Here is the document:

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, some of the $60 million Penn State paid to Sandusky’s victims went to these accusers, though they were never proven in court. When reached by PennLive.com, Penn State spokesman Lawrence Lokman would not confirm if the alleged 1976 accuser was a part of the school’s monetary settlements.

In the Freeh Report, a Penn State-sanctioned investigation into the Sandusky situation released in July 2012, it is alleged that Paterno, along with former school president Graham Spaniel, former athletic director Tim Curley and former senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz were aware of complaints against Sandusky. In one instance, the Freeh Report accuses Spanier, Curley and Schultz of choosing not to report an allegation against Sandusky which was relayed from assistant Mike McQueary to Paterno.

The Paterno family has long argued that Joe Paterno didn't have knowledge of Sandusky’s misdeeds.

"Over the past four-and-a-half years Joe Paterno's conduct has been scrutinized by an endless list of investigators and attorneys," the Paterno family's attorney, Wick Sollers, said in a statement.

"Through all of this review there has never been any evidence of inappropriate conduct by Coach Paterno. To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows he shared information with his superiors as appropriate. An allegation now about an alleged event 40 years ago, as represented by a single line in a court document regarding an insurance issue, with no corroborating evidence, does not change the facts. Joe Paterno did not, at any time, cover up conduct by Jerry Sandusky."

Lokman told PennLive that Penn State officials who have been working on the subsequent Sandusky legal matters were aware of these allegations, but in a broad sense.

"Many, many people, potential victims and victims have come forward to the university as part of that [settlement] process," Lokman said. "We do not talk about their specific circumstances."

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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