On Monday Penn State confirmed it will pay $59.7 million to Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse victims. These 26 young men were said to have been sexually abused at the hands of the school’s former assistant football coach.
The abuse scandal shook the very foundation of Penn State. It took down Joe Paterno, head football coach, before he died as well.
Penn State said that negotiations have lasted over a year but they are finally finished.
The University admitted that in June 2012 when Sandusky was convicted of 45 criminal counts that they determined to compensate his victims.
Penn State has spent in excess of $50 million on costs relative to this scandal; including attorney fees, expenses for public relations and the adoption of new procedures and policies to protect the students.
Attorneys for the victims began revealing the settlements mid-August. Penn State wanted to wait and confirm all the deals at once instead of individually. This is their policy.
According to Penn State 23 deals have already been signed the remaining three are agreements in principle, with final documentation expected within the next few weeks. There are six other claims that have yet to be settled. The University believes that some may produce settlements but all do not have enough merit for settlements.
Rodney Erickson, Penn State’s president, said that these agreements are another step closer to healing for the victims that were hurt by Sandusky. He also said it’s a step forward for the University as well.
The terms of the settlements include confidentiality agreements the school said in a press release.
One of the primary objectives for the Board of Trustees was to settle in a way that is just and that respected the privacy of each individual involved. Chair of the Board, Keith Masser, believes this is one more major milestone towards accomplishing that goal.
Ben Andreozzi, Harrisburg attorney that represents nine of the men, said he is pleased with the tentacles of the settlements. He added that he knows that no monetary amount can compensate for the pain his clients suffered but Penn State has provided them with the resources necessary to help them move forward on their road to recovery. They have received counseling and finances from the school.
According to the school none of the settlements will be funded with taxpayer monies, donations or student tuition. Any costs that are not covered by the school’s insurance will be funded from varies interest revenues related to loans made by the school.
The case in its entirety is not over yet. Three former administrators of the school were accused of engaging in criminal activity by covering up evidence in the Sandusky scandal. These men await their trial, which has not been scheduled yet, in Harrisburg.
Eight young men took the stand to testify against Sandusky. They gave clear and believable testimony of the abuse they suffered as boys. They all agreed that it began with manipulation and grooming which led to fondling, oral sex and ultimately them being anally raped.
Sandusky has long stated his innocence but did not testify during his trial phase. He claimed he took showers with the boys but says he never went any further than that. He insists he never molested any of them.
Sandusky is currently serving a 30-60 year sentence in state prison. The 69-year-old former assistant football coach is also pursuing appeals for his conviction.
Jerry Sandusky has cost the school over $50 million in fees due to the scandal and another $59.7 million in settlement costs.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)