STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed former Penn State running back Austin Scott’s civil lawsuit against the university, police and a female acquaintance over a rape charge against him that was later dropped.
No evidence supported Scott’s accusation that the woman, the school, police and prosecutors conspired against him, U.S. District Judge William Caldwell in Harrisburg said in Monday’s ruling. Caldwell ruled there was probable cause to arrest Scott in October 2007.
Prosecutors withdrew the charges in 2008, and Scott filed the civil suit the following year.
“The Penn State defendants argue there is no conspiracy claim because plaintiff has presented no evidence that they agreed among themselves and (the woman) to unlawfully prosecute Scott, nor any evidence of any wrongful act. We agree,” Caldwell wrote in his 31-page ruling.
The ruling appears to finally bring an end to the nearly-four year drama surrounding Penn State, Scott and his once-promising football career. He set state scholastic records for most single-season rushing yards (3,853) and touchdowns (53) at Parkland High School in Allentown and was a heralded running back when he arrived in Happy Valley in 2003.
But his collegiate career was hindered by injuries and lesser off-field issues. Scott ran for 302 yards and six touchdowns on 69 carries in five games in 2007 before being suspended by coach Joe Paterno for violating team rules and never played for the Nittany Lions again.
“We were confident in the actions taken by police, and have maintained throughout that all procedures were followed according to laws, and policies that we have in place,” Powers said. “This is good news.”
Centre County prosecutors initially were also named in Scott’s civil suit, but a judge removed them in 2010 after determining they had immunity.
The attorney who filed the suit for Scott in 2008, Allentown-based John Karoly, also did not immediately return a call seeking comment. In a court filing last month, Karoly withdrew from a court appearance on behalf of Scott.
Scott through his attorney had claimed his aspirations to play in the NFL were damaged after the rape charge was filed. He signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns in May 2008 but was waived five months later.
He now plays for the North East Pennsylvania Miners, a semi-professional, minor league football team based in Scranton. A message left Tuesday for Scott through a team official was not immediately returned.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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