(Reuters) - Pennsylvania State University on Tuesday sought dismissal of a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a key witness in the child sex-abuse scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Penn State said the lawsuit by former assistant football coach Mike McQueary filed in October seeking damages was vague and failed to meet legal standards for defamation and misrepresentation.
The former coach alleged he lost his job because he cooperated with law enforcement officials and will be a witness in a trial of former university officials. He is seeking damages, reinstatement to his job or payment of lost wages.
“The above allegations do not amount to the type of outrageous conduct that is required to support a punitive damages claim,” the motion filed in Pennsylvania’s Centre County Court said.
The judge in the case, Thomas Gavin, last month rejected the university’s request for a stay.
Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator with Penn State’s powerhouse football program, received a 30- to 60-year sentence after being convicted in June for sexually molesting 10 boys.
The scandal focused national attention on child sex abuse, tarnished the legacy of late football coach Joe Paterno and brought heavy sanctions on the Penn State football program. Sandusky, 68, is appealing his conviction.
McQueary testified that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in a locker room in 2001 and told Paterno about it. Other university officials were informed of the incident but it was never reported to authorities.
McQueary lost his job as receivers coach after charges were filed against Sandusky in November 2011.
Former university President Graham Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a retired vice president, face criminal cover-up charges over the shower incident.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe