Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse victims will be receiving a nearly $60 million payout, Penn State University said on Monday. Out of 26 settlements, 23 are signed leaving three that are agreements in principle. Penn State will not disclose the names of the recipients. All documentation is expected to be finalized within the coming weeks.
Lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who represented nine of the victims, says he is very pleased with the amount of the settlements. Saying that obviously no amount of money will be able to compensate for what these men have gone through, he is glad that Penn State has given them the financial resources, along with counseling, that will help them on their road to recovery. Mr. Andreozzi has three additional victims that he has yet to present to Penn State but is holding off until they in a better place in their treatment.
Penn State University’s president, Rodney Erickson, issued a public statement on Monday, saying that the settlements are a huge step forward for both the victims and the school. He says that they cannot reverse the damage that has already been done, but they will do everything in their power to learn from this experience and to ensure that it will never happen again at Penn State.
Keith E. Masser, the chairman of the board of trustees, went on record to thank the board’s legal committee for its leadership throughout the proceedings. One of their primary goals was to reach the settlements in a fair manner and to respect the privacy of those individuals who were involved.
The University has spent over $50 million on assorted costs related to the scandal. These costs include public relations expenses, lawyers’ fees, and an adoption of new policies and procedures that are related to complaints of sexual abuse. It is expected that liability insurance will cover most of the payments, including the legal defense. Penn State says that none of the settlements will be funded by taxpayer money, donations, or student tuition.
Jerry Sandusky’s fall from grace began back in the fall of 2011, when a two year long grand jury investigation resulted in Sandusky’s being arrested and charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse. The victims were all young boys he had met through his organization, The Second Mile. Sandusky was accused of molesting the young boys over a 15 year period. Sandusky vehemently denied the charges, although he did admit to showering with the boys. The resulting scandal led to the untimely dismissal of beloved Penn State head coach, Joe Paterno, who died less than three months later.
In June of 2012 Sandusky was found guilty on 48 counts of sexual abuse, and in October of that year was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. He has been filing appeals every since the conviction. Sandusky is currently serving out his sentence at the Greene state prison in Franklin Township, PA.
Penn State is hoping that with Jerry Sandusky’s victims finally set to receive nearly $60 million in damages it can put this mess behind them. As for the victims, their nightmares may never end.
By: Mary Kay Love