The Board of Trustees of Penn State University during a special meeting
late last week unanimously voted to authorize the Subcommittee on Legal, an arm of the Committee on Legal and Compliance, to approve possible settlements of claims arising out of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse case.
In a statement posted to the university’s website Oct. 26, the trustees said the recent vote gives the subcommittee the authority to approve potential settlements that may be reached related to claims by molestation victims that claim Penn State is partially liable for the abuse suffered at the hands of Sandusky, the former assistant defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions football team.
Sandusky, who is in his late sixties, was found guilty of 45 out of 48 counts of child sex-abuse following a June jury trial in Centre County, which is home to Penn State.
The former defensive coordinator was convicted of sexually abusing 10 young boys over a 15-year time period.
Sandusky is believed to have met many of his victims through The Second Mile, the youth charity he started back in the late 1970s.
Penn State’s campus, however, is where some of the molestation occurred.
In a statement, Penn State President Rodney Erickson said the board’s latest action is one more step toward the resolution of claims by Sandusky’s victims.
“As we have previously said, the University intends to deal with these individuals in a fair and expeditious manner, with due regard to their privacy,” Erickson said.
Penn State has already retained the services of Feinberg Rozen LLP to help facilitate any settlements that could potentially arise out of the current and pending civil claims.
Attorneys Kenneth R. Feinberg and Michael K. Rozen said they have already reached out to begin settlement talks with about 20 victims who accused Sandusky of sexual molestation, according to Penn State.
The claims, the university announced, include eight people who testified during Sandusky’s trial, three who have filed lawsuits and at least nine others who have come forward with allegations of child sex-abuse.
Sandusky was sentenced earlier this month by Judge John M. Cleland to between 30 and 60 years in state prison.
His two-week jury trial in tiny Bellefonte, Pa. attracted international media attention.
Sandusky has continued to maintain his innocence.
His attorneys have filed court papers seeking to have the conviction overturned and a new trial ordered.