LOCK HAVEN Lock Haven Universitys athletic director has filed a 58-page civil lawsuit, alleging various university boosters and a Williamsport radio station have damaged her reputation and are trying to get her fired.
Sharon Taylor, the universitys long-time head of athletics, filed the suit in Clinton County Court of Common Pleas through her State College attorney. It asks for an excess of $350,000 in compensatory damages, in addition to punitive damages and court fees.
Named as defendants in the suit are members of PLOW, which stands for Preserve the Legacy of Wrestling, and include Austin Shanfelter, Ronald Bowes, Neil Turner, Dr. Thane Turner and Jerry Swope. Also named is ESPN Inc. and its Williamsport-based radio station manager Todd Bartley.
Taylor alleges the defendants have conspired to injure (Taylors) reputation and standing in the community by publishing several reports that offered false allegations concerning her actions toward the athletic department.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants individually and collectively as members of PLOW published and distributed literature containing numerous defamatory falsities in portraying Taylor with the ultimate goal of forcing her out of her position as athletic director.
Specifically, a pamphlet published July of 2009, titled Lock Haven University Athletics at a Crossroad, offered several defamatory claims, Taylors suit alleged, including the allegation that $140,000 in donations were lost due to the athletic directors direction and an alleged shortfall of $20,000 in the student government funds, with the suggestion that the money was misused.
The suit said the pamphlet suggested some sports were failing due to her lack of support as athletic director, when, in fact, sports programs rise and fall based on their popularity and support from the general public and donors.
The lawsuit also points to an Oct. 28 article by Shanfelter and Swope that appeared in The Express and was critical of the athletic director.
Shanfelter, Bowes, Thane Turner and Jerry Swope are all former LHU wrestlers, and Neil Turner was let go as LHU wrestling coach earlier in Taylors career.
The civil suit alleges libel, malice, outright lies and false information deliberately came from PLOW and the individuals named in the legal action.
Taylor asked she be awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages for each of the seven counts listed in the suit, and also requests punitive damages, interest and the costs of litigation.