UNIONTOWN, Pa. — Penn State’s Board of Trustees announced several tentative settlements have been reached with men who claim former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused them, and voted Friday to authorize members of a committee to approve settlements on the university’s behalf.
The deals are limited to a range of dollar values that the board received in a closed-door session before their public meeting Friday at a branch campus and another meeting held June 25.
The school won’t be commenting on specifics until the deals have been made final, which could happen in the coming weeks. University president Rodney Erickson called approving the settlement offers “another important step toward the resolution of claims from 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 in a statement issued after the settlement resolution was approved.
Sandusky, 69, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, including violent attacks on boys inside school facilities, after a three-week trial last summer in which eight victims testified against him. He is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term and maintains he was wrongfully convicted. He is pursuing appeals.
The university said in a statement that “no settlement agreements have been signed and the discussion with counsel for the various individuals remains confidential.”
More than 30 have come forward with sex abuse claims involving Sandusky. The school said it won’t comment until settlements have been finalized, executed and delivered.
The firm of Feinberg Rozen LLP has been hired to help the university reach the settlements. The firm has helped broker mass litigation settlements stemming from incidents as varied as the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia Tech shooting massacre.
The university’s general counsel, Stephen Dunham, declined to comment on the ongoing settlement process.
The board was meeting at its branch campus in Fayette County, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh.