Penn State has reached settlement agreements totaling $59.7 million with 26 people who were sexually victimized by former assistant football coach Gerry Sandusky, the university announced Monday.
School officials said 23 agreements are signed and three have been agreed upon but still need the paperwork completed. Six claims are still pending, although the university is unsure if all have merit or will result in monetary agreements.
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“We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a release
. “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.”
The Sandusky sex abuse scandal surfaced in 2011 when men came forward alleging that Sandusky had abused them when they were underage. The football coach was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts of sexual abuse.
Penn State said the settlements would not be paid out of funds collected from student tuition, taxpayer funds, or donations. Liability insurance policies will cover the bulk of the payments, which may be higher should other claims be found to have merit, and anything not covered by those policies will be paid by interest from loans made to the school.
Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented several people with claims against the university in the case, said his clients were concerned with making sure Penn State changed things so such a situation never happened again.
“I have to applaud them, because they said 'not until we're satisfied that no one else will get hurt,’” Anderson told the Associated Press
. “The settlement of their cases in no way heals, in no way lessens the wound that remains open and the scars that are deep.”
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