The president of Penn State is decrying new allegations that former coach Joe Paterno was told that Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused a child as early as 1976 and that two assistant coaches witnessed the abuse of other children.

President Eric Barron said in a letter Sunday to the university community that he was "appalled by the rumor, innuendo and rush to judgment" accompanying the stories.

Barron said those allegations and other accusations about knowledge by Paterno "are unsubstantiated and unsupported." Some of the media reports, he said, "should be difficult for any reasonable person to believe." The allegations were revealed in an order in litigation between an insurance company and Penn State.

Barron said the university was appalled by Sandusky's actions and are committed to prevention, treatment and education.