HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Victims of convicted child abuser Jerry Sandusky who have reached settlements with his former employer, Penn State University, express bitterness toward him and the school as university officials say they continue to negotiate with others toward resolving their complaints.
At least eight of 31 claims of abuse by the school’s former assistant football coach have been settled, their lawyers say. Among them were deals reached by Sandusky’s adopted son and a Sandusky victim key to longtime coach Joe Paterno’s firing.
The men known in court documents as Victims 3, 7 and 10 released statements Saturday through the lawyers, saying that although they are relieved the settlement process is over for them, they won’t get their childhoods back.
“Penn State is not great for settling something that could have been stopped years ago,” Victim 3 said. “What makes a school great is stopping these things no matter what negative effect it has on their reputation or what bad press it might bring.”
Victim 7 said he regretted knowing Sandusky.
“Despite the settlements, my life will never feel ‘back to normal.’ If I had the power to go back in time and not ever meet Jerry Sandusky, I wouldn’t hesitate,” he said.
Victim 10 said the settlement would help make amends but couldn’t change what had happened to him.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about holding people accountable for the things that they have done,” he said.
Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 of 45 counts, found guilty of raping or fondling boys he had met through the acclaimed youth charity he founded, The Second Mile. At 69, he is serving a decades-long prison sentence. He maintains his innocence, and an appeals hearing is scheduled for next month.
Penn State has not announced the deals. A Penn State spokesman said Friday only that settlement talks continued to progress. He declined to comment further.
The school has spent nearly $50 million on the Sandusky scandal, not including any payments to the victims and accusers.
Seven of those who settled were clients of Philadelphia lawyer Matt Casey, including Sandusky’s adopted son Matt and the young man known as Victim 2 in court records. On Friday, Casey did not disclose the terms of the settlements but said they took shape some time ago and were completed a week ago.
“To say they’re relieved, I think, is a fair statement,” Casey said. “But it’s also accurate to say that while we’ve closed this chapter, there’s a whole lot of this that’s necessarily inadequate. And that can’t be helped, because of how … really unspeakable this experience has been and continues to be for them.”
Matt Sandusky had been expected to be a defense witness for his father until the trial, when he told investigators that he also had been abused by Jerry Sandusky. He has since petitioned for a legal name change for himself and his family.
Victim 2 has said he was the boy then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary testified he saw being attacked by Jerry Sandusky in a team shower in 2001. McQueary notified Paterno and school officials at the time, but police were never called, an omission that eventually led to Paterno’s firing.
Two other Casey clients who reached deals with the school were not part of the criminal case.
Another man — Victim 5 in court documents — reached a settlement last week.
Sandusky spent three decades at Penn State under Paterno. A 1998 complaint about Sandusky showering with a boy — one of those who testified against him — was investigated by university police, but no charges were filed. McQueary witnessed a different incident involving Victim 2 in the team shower in 2001.
The response of university leaders, including Paterno, was heavily criticized in a report commissioned by the school last year. The NCAA also penalized the school for its response to complaints about Sandusky and imposed a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, a loss of scholarships and the elimination of 112 Paterno-era wins.
Paterno died in January 2012. Criminal charges related to allegations of a cover-up are pending against three others: former president Graham Spanier, retired vice president Gary Schultz and retired athletic director Tim Curley. All three deny the allegations.
Other lawyers involved in settlement talks said Friday they were still working with the university but none had a signed, final agreement.
A lawyer brought in by Penn State to facilitate negotiations has said he expected more cases to settle in the near future.