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Penn State University has settled claims brought by 26 victims of disgraced ex-coach Jerry Sandusky. The victims will receive $59.7 million in total.
In a press release issued Monday, Penn State President Rodney Erickson remarked on the settlement's role in "the healing process" and ensuring that these sorts of incidents "never [happen] again at Penn State."
The settlement will never undo the damage done by Sandusky, but it can be seen as a victory of sorts for more than two dozen men who'd pursued claims against Penn State.
Settlement Releases Penn State From Liability
Penn State has been slowly wrapping up all the Sandusky-related litigation against the school. The ex-football coach was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing 10 boys.
In August, the University settled individually with the first of the 26 claims covered in the nearly $60 million settlement, allotting several million dollars to "Victim 5."
According to the University's release, the school had received claims from 32 individuals alleging they were abused by Sandusky. However, the school eventually rejected six of those claims as meritless and was left with 26 viable claims of liability.
Each settlement contains a legal promise by the victim to release Penn State from any responsibility for injuries caused by Sandusky (i.e., a promise not to sue the school) in exchange for some monetary amount based on the severity of the victim's claim.
Victim 5's settlement amount may be the greatest among the 26, due to evidence that Penn State had notice of Sandusky's actions prior to Victim 5's abuse.
Settlement Process Continues
Penn State officials announced that of the 26 settlement agreements, 23 had been signed, with three victims agreeing "in principle" to the terms of the agreement.
Assuming the other three settlement agreements are signed without issue -- as Penn State's optimistic lawyers hope -- a judge will need to approve the settlement agreements as fair and bargained-for in good faith. This process is important, as the agreements are legally binding, and the court wants to ensure that no victim was misled or tricked into settling.
If and when the settlements are approved, Penn State reports that the settlement money will come out of the school's liability insurance policies and interest revenue -- not from student tuition or taxpayer funds.