A settlement has finally been made in the Penn State sex abuse scandal. It has been determined that Penn State will pay $59.7 million to 26 sexual abuse victims of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, reports USA Today.
The abuse scandal shocked the university and the state. The 69-year-old Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 of 45 criminal counts involving abuse that spanned over a 15-year period. Several young men testified that Sandusky showered with them, groped them, and in some cases had oral and butt sex with them.
Sandusky went on to admit to showering with the boys but denied wrongdoing. While serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence he has been seeking appeals.
In a press release, the school said the terms of the just-announced settlements include confidentiality agreements. “Of the 26 settlements, 23 are signed and three are agreements in principle, with final documentation expected within the next few weeks,” reports USA Today.
“The Board of Trustees has had as one of its primary objectives to reach settlements in a way that is fair and respects the privacy of the individuals involved,” Keith Masser, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “This is another important milestone in accomplishing that goal.”
And university President Rodney Erickson called the agreements “another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State.”
“Obviously no amount of money can compensate for what these young men have gone through,” lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who represents nine of the victims, said. “But Penn State has given them the resources — financially and counseling — they need to help them recover.”
None of the settlements will be funded by student tuition, taxpayer funds or donations, according to the university. Expenses that are not covered by insurance are expected to be funded from interest revenues related to loans made by the school, reports the newspaper.
There is still more to come. ”Penn State has received claims from 32 individuals who were or allege that they were victims of Sandusky,” reports Penn State News. Penn State has rejected some of the six remaining claims as being without merit and has while it has engaged others in possible settlement talks. In all, Penn State has spent more than $50 million on other costs related to the Sandusky scandal. This includes lawyers’ fees, public relations expenses, and adoption of new policies and procedures related to children and sexual abuse complaints.
Since this incident the school has made several changes.
“We have made great strides, but a great deal of work remains,” Erickson said.