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Penn State legal costs in Sandusky case $16.7 million and climbing

| Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, 4:29 p.m.

Penn State's legal costs in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case continue to escalate — and more are coming.

The school's costs for legal counsel and consultants related to the Sandusky scandal were $16.7 million as of June 30, university officials announced Tuesday.

Costs included $9.97 million for the university's internal investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh's firm and crisis communications firms; $3.94 million in university legal fees; $56,182 for external investigations; $1.6 million for legal costs for university officers including athletic director Tim Curley, retired Vice President Gary Schultz and former President Graham Spanier; and $1.17 million for “other institutional expenses.”

Sandusky, 68, a retired Nittany Lions football defensive coordinator, is awaiting sentencing on his conviction in June for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, often in university facilities.

The university's most recent cost report does not include settlements for victims or the $60 million fine the NCAA levied against the university in July.

Several of Sandusky's victims have filed lawsuits against Penn State or served notice that they intend to seek damages and others are expected to follow.

“The actual legal costs are the least of (Penn state's) concerns; it's the settling of the cases that's the big issue. ... Pennsylvania juries have been awarding damages in the millions for victims of sexual assault,” Duquesne University law professor Wes Oliver said.

Widener University law professor John Culhane said the controversial Freeh Report's scathing indictment of Penn State could gain additional weight should a jury convict Curley and Schultz for failing to report allegations against Sandusky and lying to a grand jury. The Freeh Report was released in July.

Curley and Schultz, who are slated to stand trial in January, maintain their innocence.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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