The attorneys retained by Penn State University to handle the legal fallout from the Jerry
Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal announced late last week that settlement talks would continue into the New Year.
“This is a highly complex and sensitive matter that we are committed to completing in a fair, responsible and timely manner,” university President Rodney A. Erickson said in a statement. “We are pleased with the progress so far and remain hopeful that the process will result in settlement of many of the civil cases so that the victims will not have to be drawn through the legal process.”
Penn State retained lawyers Kenneth R. Feinberg and Michael K. Rozen back in September to help settle civil claims that have arisen out of the Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Sandusky, the college’s former assistant football coach, was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sex-abuse.
He was sentenced in October to between 30 and 60 years in state prison for his crimes.
The attorneys had originally hoped the claims would be settled in 2012 but it appears they missed their original goal.
Feinberg recently told the Centre Daily Times that between 20 to 25 men are part of the settlement talks and a few more may be included if their claims are substantiated.
Those who have sued Sandusky and Penn State included men who testified at the former defensive coordinator’s trial and others who were not involved in the criminal proceedings.
One of the first victims who sued Sandusky and the university was Aaron Fisher, the Clinton County, Pa. man whose allegations of sex-abuse led to the grand jury investigation into Sandusky.
Fisher’s suit, filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, has since been stayed by a judge at the school’s request.
The plaintiffs in the civil litigation contend that Penn State is partially liable for the abuse they suffered at the hands of Sandusky because school officials allegedly covered up and concealed what they may have known about the criminal acts at the time they took place.
Sandusky was eventually convicted of sexually abusing 10 young boys over a 15-year time period.
Penn State announced this fall that it was retaining Feinberg and Rozen because of their reputations for helping to settle high profile cases, such as the litigation that arose out of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the 2010 Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill.
“Michael and I are encouraged by the constructive dialogue that we have had with various Penn State representatives and lawyers involved in these cases,” Feinberg said. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to help the parties reach a mutually satisfying resolution of the claims.”
The Centre Daily Times has reported that the university’s legal tab relating to the Sandusky sex-abuse scandal has to date topped more than $80 million.