Lawyer: Penn State reaches first settlement in Jerry Sandusky victim suits
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 8/19/2013, 10:47 a.m.
By Ross Levitt
A man who was sexually abused by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has settled his civil suit against the university -- the first to do so, his lawyer said.
During Sandusky's trial last year, the man was known as Victim 5.
The university still faces 30 other suits. It has set aside $60 million for payouts.
Victim 5's lawyer, Tom Kline, said the settlement terms are bound by a confidentiality agreement with the school, but that "the compensation was fair and adequate."
"My client is relieved," Kline told CNN late Saturday night. "This has been a long process. There has been for him a very public reliving of horror he experienced as a child."
Sunday morning, Penn State sent a statement to CNN that said, "The University continues to make progress on multiple settlements but does not have a comment at this time."
Sandusky, 69, was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of child sex abuse, ranging from corruption of minors to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Sandusky sexually assaulted Victim 5 in August 2001, six months after then-graduate assistant Michael McQueary walked in on Sandusky raping a boy in a campus shower -- and reported it to college officials.
During Sandusky's sentencing, Victim 5 told the court he will never forget the image of Sandusky "forcing himself on me and forcing my hand on him."
At least three of Sandusky's known victims were abused after 2001, according to testimony at last year's trial of the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator.
The victims have sued the school, saying it knew about the abuse but didn't act on that knowledge.
The sex abuse scandal led to the 2011 firing of Penn State's head football coach, Joe Paterno, and the ouster of the university's longtime president Graham Spanier. Paterno died last year of lung cancer.
Last month, a judge ruled that Spanier and two senior administrators will face trial on obstruction of justice and other charges related to the scandal.
State prosecutors allege that Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice President Gary Schultz all knew about two allegations made against Sandusky in 1998 and in 2001, but lied about their knowledge when a grand jury convened several years later.
All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
'Conspiracy of silence'
Attorneys for the three claim there is no evidence of a cover-up. Yet prosecutors have characterized their action as a conscious decision not to call police.
"There was a conspiracy of silence," prosecutor Bruce Beemer said during the July hearing. "They are not relieved of criminal responsibility because their conspiracy worked for 10 years."
During Sandusky's sentencing, Victim 5 told the court Sandusky's punishment "will never erase what he did to me."
"It will never make me whole," he said. "He must pay for his crimes, take into account the tears, the pain, the private anguish."
Kline, the lawyer for Victim 5, called the settlement "win, win."
Penn State, he said, has accepted "responsibility" and "has earned a right to move forward."
Kline said Victim 5 has agreed to bring no further claims against the school as part of the deal.
CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.