Victim Says Penn State Officials 'Rejected' His Claims That a University Professor Allegedly Molested Him

New victim claims former Penn State officials "rejected" abuse claims.

November 15, 2011, 7:35 PM

Nov. 15, 2011— -- A new victim is claiming another member of the Penn State faculty sexually abused him years ago, and he said when he brought his abuse complaints to university officials, he was turned away.

Paul McLaughlin, who is now in his mid-40s, told ABC News that now-retired Penn State professor John "Jack" Neisworth, who is a nationally acclaimed voice on child development, sexually abused him in the late 1970s to early '80s when he was between the ages of 11 and 15.

McLaughlin said, after repressing the memories of his alleged abuse, that he decided to confront Neisworth over the phone in 2001 as part of his therapy. He tape-recorded the conversation, in which he claims that the professor admitted to performing oral sex on him.

"I was in the process of trying to get him to open up about some of the sexual acts and what not, and he actually interrupted me and says, 'Do you remember driving up on the hill?'" McLaughin said. "I said, 'Wasn't that the first time you went down on me?' He said, 'I don't know if it was the first time but it was certainly fierce,' was his words."

Over the course of a few months from the end of 2001 into early 2002, McLaughlin said he sent his taped conversation with Neisworth to university officials, but each time he was "rejected."

"They didn't want copies of the tape recorded conversation. They didn't want to hear it, period," he said. "It was extremely emotional for me to have to make these calls to begin with, but then to be rejected the way I was and basically treated as if I had done something wrong in making those calls."

McLaughlin said he spoke with one Penn State official on the phone at the time who refused to even investigate his claim.

"They said don't bother sending it we're not interested in fabrications, stories, any attempts at extortion or blackmail. I mean, they made it seem like I was looking for something for myself," McLaughlin said. "I didn't ask them for money. I didn't ask them for anything other than make sure they look into this. Listen to the tape and get this guy away from children."

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McLaughlin said he also spoke with former Penn State president Graham Spanier on the phone within two weeks of allegations being made about former defensive football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing young boys. Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno were fired last week in the wake of the accusations, which were first reported on Nov. 5. McLaughlin said he was met with the same "hostility" that he had received from other university officials.

"[Spanier] told me that as far as he was concerned it was hearsay, '[Neisworth] has an impeccable record. He has never been accused of anything,'" McLaughlin said. "They were more interested in protecting the school. They didn't seem to have any interest in protecting children at all."

Neisworth was later charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse in Cecil County, Md., in 2005. However, McLaughlin claimed that at the time, Penn State officials said an indictment wasn't enough to investigate one of their faculty members.

"They again continued to support him and say was basically and outstanding professor and that there was not, unless there was a conviction, there was no need to do an investigation of him," McLaughlin said.

The charges against Neisworth were later dismissed because there wasn't enough evidence to convict him. Repeated calls to him and Spanier for comment were not immediately returned. Penn State University officials declined to comment on McLaughlin's claims.

Neisworth has been nationally recognized for his work with autistic children, and even penned the acclaimed book, "The Autism Encyclopedia."

McLaughlin later sued the professor, but settled with him out of court for an undisclosed sum in March 2006. Neisworth denied all wrongdoing.

McLaughlin added that he did not pursue any further legal action with the professor or the university because the statute of limitations on the alleged crime had expired.

McLaughlin has now become an advocate for child abuse victims, and spoke on behalf of the National Center for Victims of Crime at a rally in front of the Pennsylvania state legislature Tuesday to demand action on bills that will strengthen the state's child sex abuse laws.

"They need to make it mandatory for any adult that knows that abuse is being committed against a child to report to law enforcement, not to an administration that is more interested in covering their financial assets than they are protecting children," he said.

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