Penn State has agreed to pay $59.7 million to 26 men who said they were sexually abused by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, serving what is effectively a life sentence for his conviction as a predator of boys.
The university announced on Monday that 23 of those who said they were abused had signed agreements and three more had reached agreements in principle during negotiations over the past months. Six cases had been rejected or talks are continuing, the university said.
The settlements are covered by confidentiality agreements, the university said.
The funds to pay the settlements will come from “various liability insurance policies, which the University believes cover the settlements and defense of claims brought against Penn State and its officers, employees and trustees,” the university said. “Expenses not covered by insurance are expected to be funded from interest revenues related to loans made by the University to its self-supporting units.”
No tuition or taxpayer funds will be used in funding the settlements, it said.
“We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State,” University President Rodney Erickson said in a prepared statement. “We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State.”
Sandusky was convicted of abusing at least 10 boys from a charity the coach founded for disadvantaged youths. Some of the abuse was alleged to have taken place at the training facility used by football players at Penn State. Other incidents of abuse took place at the Sandusky home and while traveling to sporting events, according to testimony at Sandusky’s June 2012 trial.
Eight of the boys – now young men – testified that Sandusky groomed them with gifts and visits to athletic venues, then forced them to have different kinds of sexual encounters including fondling and rape.
Sandusky admitted to taking showers with some of the boys but repeatedly denied that anything untoward took place. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, effectively a life term for the 69-year-old former coach. He has continued to appeal his conviction while in prison.
The scandal roiled the campus of the football powerhouse, Penn State, and eventually led to the departure of the iconic Coach Joe Paterno.
Three former Penn State administrators await trial on charges they engaged in a criminal cover-up of the Sandusky scandal. Former university President Graham Spanier, retired vice president Gary Schultz and retired athletic director Tim Curley are all awaiting trial and have denied all charges.
The total cost of the Sandusky affair is more than $100 million, including the settlements announced on Monday. Penn State has spent more than $50 million on other costs including lawyers' fees, public relations expenses, and adoption of new policies and procedures.
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