April 09, 2015
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Penn State board on Thursday authorized university officials to settle litigation related to Jerry Sandusky, but it was not clear how much money is at stake or the number of victims involved.
The trustees voted 18-6 to let high-ranking administrators execute settlements after they discussed dollar limits during a closed session.
A university news release said the terms are subject to confidentiality agreements, although Penn State may release details on the number of deals and the amount of money being paid out later, when other settlements are made.
Chairman Keith Masser said during a public conference call before the vote that the authorization covers "one or more" claims related to the actions of Sandusky, the school's former assistant football coach now serving a lengthy prison sentence for child molestation.
The university previously announced settlements with 26 young men for nearly $60 million, but has been sued by at least two others, witnesses at Sandusky's criminal trial referred to in court documents as Victim 6 and Victim 9. Messages left for their lawyers on Thursday were not immediately returned.
No one spoke in favor of the resolution before the vote, but trustees who were opposed — all of them among the alumni-elected board members — said they were not willing to act without all the facts, or believed the university should not continue paying for Sandusky's actions.
Alumni-elected trustee Anthony Lubrano said he would not vote to approve any more settlement resolutions without full access to the source materials used to produce the 2012 report by former FBI director Louis Freeh into how the university handled the Sandusky scandal.
"We seem to have adopted a policy of 'just pay and move on,'" Lubrano said. "Unfortunately Penn State continues to pay, almost three years later, and today we look to pay again. But I say no more."
Bob Jubelirer, an alumni-elected trustee, said the school needs to "put a stop to the spigot that has been turned on and actually fight back and stand up for the university."
"Every day that we silently stand in support of the Freeh report is a day that we allow the world to believe that we agree with its conclusions," said alumni-elected trustee Alice Pope. She said tacit support of the Freeh report exposes the school to claims of moral and legal culpability that she said has not been established.