Penn State to pay $59.7 million to 26 victims in Sandusky child sex abuse settlement – Yahoo News

(Reuters) – Penn State University agreed to pay $59.7 million to 26 victims of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, settling the bulk of claims in a major step to move beyond a scandal that upended one of U.S. college football‘s most lucrative teams.

The university said in a statement it reached the settlements in the wake of Sandusky’s conviction in June 2012 for sexually abusing boys while he was an assistant football coach and after he retired.

“We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State,” university President Rodney Erickson said in a statement.

“We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State,” he added.

Claims from six other men who said Sandusky abused them as children have been rejected or may result in possible settlements, the school said.

Sandusky, 69, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, in a case that tarnished the reputation of Penn State and its late football coach Joe Paterno, who lost his job for failing to report Sandusky to authorities.

“There is some sense of affirmation, but there remains the deep wounds and scars that are wide open and every day it’s a struggle,” said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for the last two victims to accept the settlement.

The figure is close to the $60 million fine imposed by the NCAA – the equivalent of the annual gross revenue of the football program – along with other sanctions.

The victim settlement comes on top of $50 million already spent on fines, legal bills and other costs linked to the scandal that rocked the university after a grand jury indicted Sandusky in November 2011.

“No amount of money can restore the innocence that was taken from the victims. It’s only because of their generosity and courage in speaking up that Sandusky was removed from his powerful position and children are safer,” said the victim advocacy group Survivors of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The school said the settlement amounts will not be funded by student tuition, taxpayers or donations, and that it believes it has various liability insurance policies that will cover the settlements. Penn State did not name the insurers.

The university has sued one of its insurers, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Company (PMA), alleging PMA failed to honor its obligations to pay for claims in the Sandusky case.

PMA declined to comment on Monday, and a Penn State spokesmen declined to comment beyond the prepared statement, except to confirm that the PMA litigation was ongoing.

“Penn State believes it has other insurance that has been denied to them and they intend to pursue those other claims,” said Clifford Rieders, an attorney who represented one of Sandusky’s victims and was involved in drafting the settlement.

The settlements were not split evenly and ranged “from the hundreds of thousands to the several millions” of dollars for each plaintiff, Rieders said.

Anderson said it was likely Penn State agreed to cover the settlements now “with the idea of fighting it out later with the insurance companies.”

Sandusky lost a bid earlier this month for a new trial.

Paterno, as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, had won more games than any other major college football coach in history until the NCAA stripped the team of more than 100 victories because of the scandal. Paterno died early last year at age 85.

Three former Penn State administrators, including the former president, Graham Spanier, have been criminally charged with conspiring to cover up the scandal.

Penn State to pay $59.7 million in Sandusky child sex abuse settlement – Yahoo News.

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Penn State: Donations 2nd highest in school history: University received $208 million despite the Jerry Sandusky scandal

Penn State received more than $208 million in donations for the fiscal year that just ended, the second-highest total in university history despite the upheaval after the arrest of Jerry Sandusky on child sex abuse charges.

The school said Monday there was a slight uptick in the number of alumni who donated money or gifts in the fiscal year that ended June 30 to more than 75,500, reversing two years of slight declines.

“We’re very grateful – humbled really – to have this kind of response from Penn Staters, who I think have rallied to the cause … by the side of the institution through a very difficult time,” Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, said Monday in an interview.

The number of donors overall – which would include corporations and non-alumni – also rose slightly to more than 191,000. Donations included gifts for scholarships; as well as increases in giving to the football booster club and the annual student-organized dance marathon to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and research.

Only the 2010 fiscal year was more prolific for Penn State, when the school raised more than $274 million. What Kirsch described as a “bonanza year” for fundraising was due in large part to an $88 million gift by Terry Pegula, and founder and former president of an energy company involved in Pennsylvania‘s burgeoning natural gas industry. Pegula earmarked the gift, which is the largest private donation in Penn State history, to upgrade the school’s club hockey team to Division I and build an arena.

Pegula has since increased his commitment to $102 million. He said at a groundbreaking ceremony in April that he didn’t waver even after the turmoil that embroiled the campus after retired defensive coordinator Sandusky was arrested in November. It led to the ouster of head coach Joe Paterno, a move criticized by some alumni and former players.

Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts last month.

The findings from the school’s internal investigation, led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, are also expected to be released soon. Those conclusions could weigh heavily on whether the university can settle any civil lawsuits out of court.

The school has said that private donations, tuition dollars or state appropriations will not be used to pay for legal fees, consultants or any other costs associated with the Sandusky scandal, which has, through the end of April, totaled $11.9 million.

The school isn’t deviating from its overall goal of raising $2 billion in the current, seven-year fundraising campaign that began in 2007, Kirsch said. Including the most recent $208 million figure, about $1.6 billion has been raised for that campaign.

“Keep in mind we are not only dealing with the crisis we’re still going through, but we’re dealing with a tough economic environment still,” Kirsch said. “In that context, I’m not real surprised, but I’m very grateful for” the donations.

Separately, Penn State reported $223 million in new donation commitments, down 37 percent from the previous year. Kirsch said that was expected given the size of Pegula’s gift, and a big fundraising push by the school related to that donation.

The latest fundraising figures were released against the backdrop of a decline in recent years in state funding, which is used to help offset tuition for in-state residents. Penn State trustees are expected to vote on a potential tuition increase at their next meeting Friday in Scranton.

Kirsch said raising money for undergraduate scholarships remained a top priority to keep Penn State affordable. Last year, in-state freshmen and sophomores paid more than $15,000 a year in tuition to attend the main campus in State College, while out-of-state residents paid $27,000.

The school is seeking to raise more money to support faculty. Penn State said it has also raised more than $46 million from current or former faculty and staff, or $3 million more than its initial goal.

That total would include donations made by the Paterno family, such as the annual $100,000 gift in December, a month after Paterno was fired, for the library and an undergraduate fellow program that bears the family name. Paterno died in January of lung cancer at age 85.

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The C.O.W.S. w/ White Terrorism in Jasper, Texas (Again) on Monday, July 9th 7:00PM Eastern/ 4:00PM Pacific


Black Talk Radio Network:

The Context of White Supremacy welcomes Cade Bernsen. Attorney Bernsen practices law with his father, David, in Beaumont, TX. He handles personal injury cases, is a member of the Jefferson County Bar Association, and serves… as a Treasurer of the Jefferson County Young Lawyers Association. Jasper, Texas received global recognition for the 1998 murder of James Byrd, Jr.; Mr. Byrd was dragged from a truck and decapitated by a trio of openly White Supremacists males. In 2011, Jasper hired its first black sherrif, Rodney Pearson. Within a year, Pearsen was fired. Many suspect that this is yet another incident of White Terrorism. Attorney Bernsen is representing Mr. Pearson in his pursuit of Justice. We’ll get more details on the case, and how a small group of White people are generating an immense amount of conflict.  

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