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Jul 23, 2014 05:48 AM EDT

Former Penn State Coaches File Lawsuit for Unlawful Termination Over Sandusky Scandal (UPDATE)

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Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney, two former assistant coaches at Penn State, have filed a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia against the school for unlawfully terminating them from the coaching staff two years ago.

The plaintiffs are seeking more than $1 million and a statement from the University saying that they had no links to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Sandusky, the once-famous football coach was charged and convicted with child sexual abuse in June 2012 for abusing several boys during his 15-year tenure at Penn State, Fox Sports Reports. The former longtime defensive coordinator is currently serving 30 to 60 years in prison.

Sandusky served as an assistant coach his entire career under head football coach Joe Paterno, father of Jay. Paterno reported Sandusky's behaviour to the former school president and athletic director. All of them failed to take any action and Sandusky continued to molest young boys.

Paterno, fired as the Nittany Lions' coach before the end of the 2011 season, was replaced by Bill O'Brien in January 2012. O'Brien replaced much of Paterno's staff.

In the lawsuit, Jay and Kenney said that they were let go in early 2012 "at the height of the Sandusky scandal's dark shroud and without any attempt whatsoever by Penn State to preserve the reputations of these guiltless individuals."

Jay Paterno served mostly as a quarterbacks coach during his 17-season stint with the Penn State, while Kenney spent 23 years as an offensive assistant and recruiting coordinator.

Reacting to the allegations in the lawsuit, Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said that head coaches always choose their own assistants.

The suit alleges that Penn State reacted "with rashness and without basis" by "prematurely releasing" Paterno, Kenney and other coaches due to the abuse case, Daily Collegian reports. Their unlawful discharge from the football program and the consent decree between PSU and the NCAA labelled them "pariah status."

Kenney is now an assistant at the Western Michigan University, and Paterno is a freelance sports writer and consultant with an upcoming book.

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