25 Sandusky victims likely to settle claims this week, Penn State attorney says
STATE COLLEGE — Twenty-five men who say former Penn State University assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused them will finalize settlement agreements with the university this week, a negotiator said Monday.
Michael Rozen, a New York-based attorney Penn State retained to mediate the settlement discussions, said 25 of 31 claims against Penn State should be finalized, barring unexpected developments.
In addition to those claims, one claim entered litigation, one will file a lawsuit “shortly,” one claimant continues discussions and three are considered “not reliable,” according to Rozen.
A 25-year-old man identified during Sandusky's trial as Victim 5 was the first to finalize a settlement with the university, according to his Philadelphia-based attorney Tom Kline. Victim 5 testified that he was groped in a university shower in August 2001 by the former defensive coordinator.
Kline declined to comment on the dollar amount but said that as part of the deal, his client gave up the right to sue any other party, including The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded to serve underprivileged children.
Both Kline and Rozen said the settlement process was relatively speedy, taking about a year in most cases. The lead negotiator added that Penn State conducted itself appropriately and professionally while discussing deals with more than 30 claimants.
The university positioned itself to recover money from The Second Mile and its insurers, Kline said. In addition to seeking to recover money from the charity, Penn State sued its insurance company, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Co., over its refusal to cover the claims.
A university spokesman declined to comment on the settlements, saying, “The university continues to make progress on multiple settlements.” University trustee Ted Brown said in July that the governing board authorized about $60 million in total payouts to the 25 Sandusky accusers.
State College-based attorney Andrew Shubin, who represents seven men who said Sandusky abused them, said Monday that negotiators are in the “final stages” of resolving claims he presented to the university, and said he and his clients expect to finish within the week.
Shubin represents four men who testified against Sandusky during his criminal trial, in addition to the victim identified in court documents only as Victim 2— the boy Sandusky assaulted in a campus shower, according to testimony by former assistant Mike McQueary.
Shubin also represents Matt Sandusky, Jerry Sandusky's adopted son who recently filed in Centre County Court for a name change.
“There is no amount of money that will give them back their childhood or that can make them feel whole,” Shubin said. “However, this is one step in the right direction and hopefully it will give them continued traction in their recovery.”
A Centre County jury found Sandusky, 69, guilty of molesting 10 boys during more than a decade. He is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence at a State Correctional Facility in Waynesburg.
Three Penn State administrators accused of covering up the abuse are set to go to trial, although a date is not set. Retired vice president Gary Schultz, former athletic director Tim Curley and ex-President Graham Spanier all are charged with perjury, conspiracy and failure to report suspected abuse.
Anna Orso is a freelance writer based in State College.