It has been more than a year since disgraced Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 criminal counts of sexually abusing dozens of young boys. He will effectively spend the rest of his life in prison. And while the story has largely faded from national headlines, a criminal conviction alone does not begin to erase the trauma from the minds and hearts of those who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Penn State has settled with 25 of Sandusky’s 31 child molestation victims who filed lawsuits against the university for its failure to intervene and stop Sandusky’s reprehensible actions despite having knowledge of his behavior. Among the victims who filed suit was Matt Sandusky, who is Jerry Sandusky’s adopted son.
The settlement amounts are not being publicly disclosed by attorneys representing plaintiffs or the university. However, it has been explained that the victims in the case have been separated into three groups, depending on when they were abused by Sandusky; and their settlements will vary based on that time frame.
The first group of plaintiffs was abused prior to 1998, when the University apparently had no knowledge of Sandusky’s criminal actions. In 1998, one of the victims told his mother that he had showered with Sandusky and felt very uncomfortable about it. After this allegation, a police investigation was conducted and Penn State officials took the insufficient actions of simply prohibiting Sandusky from having any children on university property.
The second group of plaintiffs was abused between 1998 and 2001. This is the year that assistant coach Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky raping a young boy in a campus shower. He reported what he saw to his colleagues and school officials, but none of them took these allegations to the police.
The third and final group of plaintiffs was abused by Sandusky after 2001; when university officials had more than enough information to know that he was a danger to children.
It is simply unacceptable that Jerry Sandusky was allowed to continue abusing children simply because of his status in the collegiate athletic community. It is sad to think about how many victims could have been spared if his colleagues and University officials had not demonstrated such cowardice by keeping silent about what they knew.
Source: ABC News, “Penn State Settles 25 Suits in Jerry Sandusky Case,” Colleen Curry, Aug. 26, 2013