Ex-Penn State assistant coaches sue for $1 million over being linked to Sandusky scandal

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(CNN) — A pair of former Penn State assistant football coaches, including the son of the late head football coach Joe Paterno, have filed a federal lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages from the university.

The suit claims that plaintiffs Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney were unfairly linked to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal, which eventually led to the firing of Joe Paterno. Jay Paterno and Kenney were also dismissed from their coaching positions.

“Penn State reacted in mid-January 2012 with rashness and without basis by prematurely releasing from Penn State’s employment the majority of the Penn State football coaching staff, including the employment of (Jay) Paterno and Kenney,” the complaint states.

After Joe Paterno’s firing in November 2011, new head coach Bill O’Brien decided not to retain Jay Paterno and Kenney on his staff.

Since their dismissal in January 2012, the lawsuit claims, Jay Paterno and Kenney “have been denied lucrative employment opportunities based upon the false light and association by innuendo.”

The two are seeking $1 million in damages “in compensation for their emotional distress, humiliation, loss of reputation and status in the community of their respective peers, and the loss of their ability to provide for themselves,” the complaint states.

They also want Penn State “to issue a public statement confirming that neither of plaintiffs committed any wrongdoing or impropriety of any kind in connection with the crimes and misconduct of Sandusky, and/or Penn State’s handling of Sandusky’s crimes and misconduct in any way, shape or form.”

Penn State issued a statement Tuesday saying “it is common practice for incoming head coaches to select their own coaching staff,” according to PennLive.com

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