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One of Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse victims has settled a lawsuit against Penn State, ending one avenue of potential liability following the former football coach's conviction.
The plaintiff, referred to as Victim 5 in court, was raped by Sandusky in 2001 -- months after then-graduate assistant Michael McQueary told university officials he saw Sandusky rape another boy in a Penn State locker room, reports Reuters.
Victim 5's case may be settled, but Penn State is not out of the woods from future suits.
Settlement Funds for Victims
More than a year ago, following Sandusky's criminal conviction, Penn State set aside $60 million in a settlement fund to help compensate the coach's victims, reports The Associated Press.
This settlement agreement in Victim 5's case is the first of many, with Penn State's attorneys asserting that the other 25 lawsuits against the university would be settled in short order, reports Reuters.
In exchange for receiving several million dollars in settlement funds, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, Victim 5 agreed to cede all future claims against the university related to Sandusky's abuse.
While exchanging money in settling these sorts of claims may sound unseemly, reaching these sorts of agreements allows victims of abuse to avoid years of exposure through litigation. It can also cut back on legal expenses.
Serious Liability for University
Penn State is taking all claims of liability for sexual abuse seriously, but Victim 5's case seemed to have special weight due to the fact that it occurred after the school had notice of Sandusky's rape of another boy in the university's showers.
Even an attorney for Penn State told the Inquirer that Victim 5's case is singular among the claims of abuse because "it absolutely, positively could have been stopped."
Although the university still plans to settle with the other 25 plaintiffs, the amount of settlement funds they will receive will likely be less than Victim 5's, and proportionate to Penn State's potential exposure for negligence in each case.