Penn State to pay $59.7M to victims of Sandusky abuse claims

Settlement amount comes after nearly a year of negotiation with alleged victims of sexual abuse

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in the child sex abuse case on Oct. 9, 2012, in Bellefonte, Penn.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Penn State University said Monday it is paying $59.7 million to 26 young men over claims of child sexual abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The university said it had concluded negotiations that have lasted about a year.

The school said 23 deals are fully signed and three are agreements in principle. The school faces six other claims, and says it believes some do not have merit while others may produce settlements.

On the day Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 of 45 criminal counts, Penn State said that it was determined to compensate victims.

The trial capped a scandal that ended the career of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, who transformed the once-obscure school into a football power. The Sandusky saga also brought down the school's president and focused attention on the dominant role college football plays on campuses across the United States. It led college sports' governing body, the NCAA, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university's football program.

The settlements have been unfolding since mid-August, when attorneys for the accusers began to disclose them. Penn State followed a policy in which it has not been confirming them, waiting instead to announce deals at once.

Penn State has spent more than $50 million on other costs related to the Sandusky scandal, including lawyers' fees, public relations expenses, and adoption of new policies and procedures related to children and sexual abuse complaints.

Sandusky, 69, has been pursuing appeals while he serves a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence.

Three former Penn State administrators await trial in Harrisburg on charges they engaged in a criminal cover-up of the Sandusky scandal. Former President Graham Spanier, retired Vice President Gary Schultz and retired Athletic Director Tim Curley deny the allegations, and a trial date has not been scheduled.

Eight young men testified against Sandusky, describing a range of abuse they said went from grooming and manipulation to fondling, oral sex and anal rape when they were boys.

Sandusky did not testify at his trial but has long asserted his innocence. He has acknowledged he showered with boys but insisted he never molested them.

The Associated Press

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