The attorney of former Penn State running back Austin Scott has filed suit against the university, Penn State Police and Centre County on Tuesday, claiming a dropped rape case against him damaged a potential NFL career.
Prosecutors dropped rape, sexual assault, simple assault and indecent assault charges against Scott in April 2008, saying it would be unlikely to convince a jury to convict if revelations from the woman's past were admissible in court.
The charges stemmed from an October 2007 incident in which a woman reported to authorities that Scott had sexually assaulted her at his on-campus residence. Scott's lawyers, who maintained that the encounter was consensual, said the woman had made a false rape accusation in the past, making her claim against Scott less credible.
Now, Scott wants $300,000 in total compensation from the university, Penn State Police, the county, the woman who said he raped her, Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira, former Assistant District Attorney Lance Marshall, Penn State Chief of Police Stephen Shelow, Assistant Chief of Police Thomas Sowerby, three police officers and two detectives, according to court documents.
The suit was filed in Pennsylvania federal court in Williamsport on Tuesday.
"Prior to false allegations and false arrest warrant, [Scott] had enjoyed a highly successful career as both a high school and college athlete," Scott's attorney John Karoly stated in the suit. "He was slated to be a third- or fourth-round draft pick for the National Football League."
Scott, a former Penn State running back, was kicked off the team shortly before charges were filed for breaking an unspecified team rule. His arrest launched a media frenzy, forcing the judge to order a gag order in the case.
The ordeal caused "impairment of personal and professional reputation, and earning capacity, and shortening of economic horizons," according to the suit.
Madeira and Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon declined comment because they had not yet seen the lawsuit. Karoly could not be reached for comment.
Karoly wrote Scott's constitutional rights were violated when the defendants "recklessly and willfully" engaged in "outrageous conduct not to be tolerated in a civilized society."
Karoly said Scott was unlawfully arrested and falsely imprisoned, and the case lacked probable cause. Because all of the parties worked together, Karoly says all of the individuals were named in the suit. The defendants were part of an expressed "or implied agreement" with each other, according to the document.