Penn State University announced Monday it doled out $59.7 million in out-of-court settlements to 26 victims of former assistant football coach and convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky.
"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."
Penn State received allegations from 32 individuals claiming they had been victimized by Sandusky. Six of those claims were deemed to be "without merit." Of the 26 settlements, 23 are fully signed, while the remaining three are awaiting final documentation within the next few weeks, the school said.
The university expects to cover the cost of the settlements using various insurance and interest revenues. Public funds, student tuition or donations will not fund any amount of the settlements, the university said. It did not specify individual settlement amounts.
Sandusky, 69, is currently serving a 30 to 60 year prison sentence for 45 of 48 charges of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period following a June 2012 conviction.
In addition to plaguing the lives his victims, the Sandusky scandal ravaged the sniversity's reputation. Then-Penn StatePresident Graham Spanier was forced to resign, while athletic director Tim Curley and long-time football coach Joe Paterno, who died from lung cancer two months after Sandusky's indictment, were fired.
Curley, Spanier, and former university vice president Gary Schultz are awaiting trial for allegedly covering up their knowledge of a 2001 incident where Sandusky allegedly molested a boy in a university shower.
The NCAA issued heavy sanctions on the university's celebrated football program. All of the Penn State's wins between 1998 and 2011 were vacated, stripping Paterno's legacy as the winningest coach in college football. The Nittany Lions lost postseason eligibility for four years and were forced to pay $60 million in proceeds to child abuse endowments.
Initially, Penn State saw its initial scholarship offers slashed by 40 between 2013 and 2017. The NCAA announced in September it would gradually restore its allotted total scholarship opportunities from 65 to 85, starting with five additional initial scholarships for the school year beginning in 2014.