Penn State will pay a total of $59.7 million to the 26 victims sexually assaulted by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the university announced today.
69-year-old Sandusky is serving up to 60 years in prison after he was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse last year.
Of the 26 settlements, 23 are fully signed and three are agreed in principle, with final documentation forthcoming in the next few weeks. The school added that it received 32 claims from Sandusky's alleged victims—some of which were thrown out because they lacked merit, and others of which are currently involved in possible settlement negotiations.
“We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State,” said 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.”
Sandusky, for his part, maintains his innocence, having said in the past that "In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts." Former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley also deny allegations that they participated in Sandusky's coverup, with Spanier suing for defamation, NBC reports.