This week, Penn State officials announced that the university will be paying $59.7 million to the 26 sexual abuse victims of former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky. This settlement is “another step in the healing process” for the young men who were abused by Sandusky, as well as the university itself says Penn State president, Rodney Erickson. However, despite the school’s costly recovery, many of its former faculty members still face criminal charges for covering up the scandal for nearly a decade before it went to the press.
The Sandusky scandal erupted after more than 15 years whereby Jerry Sandusky regularly molested and sexually abused young boys aged 7 to 15 years old. Sandusky accessed his victims through a charitable organization he created called The Second Mile, dedicated to helping children with absent or dysfunctional families. Penn State was put on notice that Sandusky was abusing young boys in the locker rooms as early as 2001, but it was not until 2009 after a victim’s mother learned of the abuse that Sandusky’s behavior was formally investigated. Finally, Sandusky was found guilty for 45 counts of sexual assault on June 22, 2012. He remains in state prison serving out a 30- to 60-year sentence.
Most of the terms of the Sandusky settlement will remain confidential, but university officials report that the $2.3 million settlements paid out to each victim will not be funded by student tuition, taxpayer funds, or donations. Instead, these expenses are expected to be generated from interest revenues related to loans made by the school.
Following the release of a July, 2012 internal investigation, three former university officials now face a number of criminal charges for covering up early reports of Sandusky’s abuse. In addition to the costly settlement of victims’ claims, Penn State has paid an additional $50 million on other expenses related to the scandal including attorneys’ fees, public relations costs, and adoption of new policies and procedures related to children and sexual abuse complaints.