Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Lawyers: 19 Sandusky victims settle with Penn St.
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- At least 19 young men have settled with Penn State over assertions of abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to lawyers for the claimants.
Many, if not all of them, have received checks from the university, the attorneys said over the past two days. The school has set aside some $60 million to pay claims, though several lawyers say the settlements prevent them from disclosing details, including the amounts their clients were paid.
"They're getting the resources they need to navigate hurdles which have been thrown in front of them," said Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi, part of a group of four lawyers who have resolved nine claims. They have three other cases, including two that have not been presented to Penn State.
"Does it wipe out all their problems? No," Andreozzi said. "Does it give them the resources they need to get their lives back on track? Yes."
Among those who reached settlements were some who testified at Sandusky's trial last year. Sandusky, 69, the school's longtime assistant football coach under Joe Paterno, is serving 30 to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.
Harrisburg attorney Chuck Schmidt confirmed his client has settled, as did Williamsport attorney Clifford Rieders.
"He is a very responsible, thoughtful, intelligent man," Rieders said Tuesday of his client. "His reaction is that this was a terrible tragedy and he'd like to move on with his life and get the help he needs for a meaningful life."
Rieders said his client was paid Sept. 30. Schmidt said his received a check about two weeks ago.
Philadelphia attorney Tom Kline previously announced his client had settled, as did the Philadelphia firm Ross Feller, which represents seven.
St. Paul, Minn., lawyer Jeff Anderson said his two cases remain unresolved, as did a spokeswoman for Baltimore attorney Howard Janet, who represents one claimant. Two other lawyers who have clients in the Sandusky civil claims did not return phone messages.
A Penn State spokesman declined to comment, but the school has said it plans to eventually release the number of claimants and the total amount they have been paid. Lawyers for the school say at least 31 have come forward but it's unclear who some are or whether they have lawyers.
Penn State has revamped a long list of policies and procedures as a result of the Sandusky scandal and agreed to a set of penalties from the NCAA over the school's handling of the matter.
Andreozzi said the school has been "moving in the right direction."
"It serves as a model for how institutions can assume some accountability after they make mistakes," Andreozzi said.
Three former Penn State administrators are awaiting trial in Harrisburg for what prosecutors say was a criminal cover-up of complaints about Sandusky. Former president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley have all denied the allegations.