Penn State has agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement with a 25-year-old man who was sexually abused by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in a campus shower, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, leaves the Centre County Courthouse after attending a post-sentence motion hearing in Bellefonte, Pa., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Credit: AP)
Attorney Tom Kline confirmed in an email that the client, known as Victim 5 when he testified at Sandusky's criminal trial, has agreed to terms with the university.
It is the first settlement reached from among 26 concerning 31 young men who have pressed claims over the actions of the university's former assistant football coach. A Penn State spokesman says the school "continues to make progress on multiple settlements" but isn't commenting on the Inquirer's report of this multimillion-dollar deal.
Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. The university has approved spending $60 million for the payouts.
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The man, known as Victim 5 in court proceedings, was assaulted by Sandusky in August 2001, six months after then-graduate assistant Michael McQueary reported to university officials that he saw Sandusky rape a boy in a campus shower.
Because the assault occurred so soon after the McQueary report and took place on campus, it was considered pivotal in reaching a settlement agreement with other victims, said Michael K. Rozen, a lawyer hired by the university to help settle the cases.
"The pivotal issue from the university's perspective in dealing with the victims is where the incident occurred and when it occurred proximate to the 2001 shower incident," Rozen said. " 'Number 5' is probably the singular one of the claims that has come to the university's attention where it absolutely, positively could have been stopped."
While the exact amount of the settlement wasn't specified, Rozen told the Inquirer that it was one of the highest negotiated because of its circumstances.
Philadelphia lawyer Joel Feller, whose firm represents seven victims, told the Inquirer that he expected settlement details to be finished early next week for all seven. He, too, declined to release the amount of the settlements.
"No amount of money is going to take away what these young men are going to have to endure for the rest of their lives," Feller said. "But they are pleased to have this over with."
Sandusky was found guilty in June 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, convicted of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. Witnesses said Sandusky used the charitable organization he founded for troubled children as his personal hunting ground to find and groom boys to become his victims.
Eight of the boys he was found guilty of molesting testified at his trial, describing a range of abuse that included fondling, oral sex and anal intercourse.
Last month Penn State’s ex-president and two former top school administrators were ordered to stand trial on charges accusing them of a cover-up in the Sandusky scandal. Prosecutors showed enough evidence to warrant a trial for ex-President Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz, and ex-athletic director Tim Curley, District Judge William Wenner concluded.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(H/T: Philadelphia Inquirer)