Penn State had one of the biggest sports crises of our generation. On Monday, the university said that it will be paying $59.7 million to 26 men over the claims of child sex abuse at the hands of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
There were 26 settlements, and 23 of them are signed and completed but three are agreements in principle that should be finalized within the next few weeks.
It’s great news to hear several of these victims will be getting something for the pain and suffering that Sandusky has caused, but I’m not sure it’s enough. The amount of money these victims receive will never erase the abuse and mental and emotional pain they’ve endured back then and still carry with them today.
Although there are already 26 settlements, Penn State still faces six other claims, which may result in future settlements. My stomach physically hurt when I read that number, and then I wondered if there were even more victims that didn’t come forward.
What is comforting is hearing that these victims are satisfied with the settlements they’ve received, though the experience will never be forgotten. “They felt that the university treated them fairly with the economic and noneconomic terms of the settlement,” Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi told ESPN.
Andreozzi also represents several other victims who came forward recently. He said the new claims have yet to be presented to the university.
The money going to the victims isn’t the only large amount of money Penn State has had to spend. Obviously the university has endured all the costs of lawyers and public relations professionals. The university has spent over $50 million on those costs and also on adopting new policies and procedures that are related to children and sex abuse complaints. The university could have saved itself millions of dollars if Joe Paterno would have contacted the police when he was confronted with the initial sex abuse complaints.
“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,” Penn State president Rodney Erickson told ESPN.
Erickson believes these settlements are a step forward in the healing process for all those who were hurt by Sandusky.
“Obviously no amount of money can compensate for what these young men have gone through,” Erickson told USA Today. “But Penn State has given them the resources — financially and counseling — they need to help them recover.”
Former President Graham Spanier and two other former Penn State officials were ordered to stand trial on criminal charges related to an alleged cover-up of the sexual abuse. Former Athletic Director Tim Curley, former university Vice President Gary Schultz and Spanier are facing perjury charges, conspiracy and failure to report suspected child abuse.
I hope justice continues to be served for the other victims that have come forward and that Penn State has learned from the several preposterous mistakes they have made.