MADISON, Wis. – A federal judge in Wisconsin has dismissed a lawsuit accusing former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse in 2002 as tasteless and frivolous, saying the man who apparently filed the suit is known for making false litigious claims.
U.S. District Judge William Conley said in Friday's order that the allegations of an assault during a Wisconsin Badgers home football game appear to come from Jonathan Lee Riches, whom the judge said has "vexed the court system with thousands of frivolous lawsuits before his recent release from federal prison."
Riches, who once dubbed himself "Lawsuit Zeus," has a history of filing frivolous lawsuits dating back to 2006 targeting the famous and infamous, including Martha Stewart, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, former President George W. Bush and Somali pirates.
The Wisconsin lawsuit was filed June 26 by someone claiming to be "Jonathan Bollinger," cousin of former Badgers quarterback Brooks Bollinger. The mailing address was that of a Philadelphia comedy club.
In the complaint, the man claiming to be Bollinger alleged that Sandusky sexually assaulted him in a Camp Randall bathroom during the third quarter of a game between the Nittany Lions and the Badgers.
In a subsequent letter sent to the court, "Jonathan Bollinger" said the lawsuit should never have been filed because numerous court rules were violated, including that the wrong size paper had been used.
Conley, in a brief but sternly worded order, called on Riches to show by the end of the month why he should not be held in contempt of court and his conduct referred to his probation officer and the appropriate U.S. Attorney's office.
"Even aside from the incredibly tasteless act of filing these false allegations in light of the very real victims of sexual assaults against children, the individual involved here appears to have committed a fraud on this court, wasted court resources ... and continued a pattern of behavior deserving of sanction," Conley wrote.
"The complaint in this case, which lacks any indicia of credibility, is both frivolous and malicious," he said.
Sandusky was convicted June 22 of 45 counts for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years in a scandal that tarnished the reputation of a prestigious university sports program. He likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Conley said the Wisconsin complaint appears to be one of several "decidedly unfunny" lawsuits filed by Riches across the country in late June and early July against Sandusky and realty show star Kim Kardashian.
Prosecutors in Kentucky said in 2010 that Riches sometimes uses the identity of others to file his lawsuits, such as the one attributed to al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri. In that one, he sued the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, the Dave Matthews Band and Stevie Wonder in an effort to halt the Tennessee music festival because he found the music offensive.
U.S. District Judge Karl F. Forester in Kentucky in 2010 allowed the Bureau of Prisons to review and reject any legal mail Riches sent, hoping this would arrest his behavior.
Riches, 35, was released from federal prison in Kentucky on April 30 after serving eight years for using email to scam credit card numbers online.