Lawyer: Penn State reaches first settlement in Jerry Sandusky victim suits

Updated 11:57 AM EDT, Sun August 18, 2013
02:27 - Source: CNN
Penn State and abuse victim settle suit

Story highlights

NEW: Victim 5 was assaulted in the shower 6 months after the witnessed assault, lawyer says

The university faces 30 other suits

It has set aside $60 million for payouts

Victim 5: Sandusky's punishment "will never erase what he did to me"

(CNN) —  

A man who was sexually abused by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has settled his civil suit against the university – the first to do so, his lawyer said.

During Sandusky’s trial last year, the man was known as Victim 5.

Victim 5’s lawyer, Tom Kline, said the settlement terms are bound by a confidentiality agreement with the school, but that “the compensation was fair and adequate.”

“My client is relieved,” Kline told CNN. “This has been a long process. There has been for him a very public reliving of horror he experienced as a child.”

Sandusky, 69, was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of child sex abuse, ranging from corruption of minors to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

At the sentencing, Victim 5 told the court Sandusky’s punishment “will never erase what he did to me.”

“It will never make me whole,” he said. “He must pay for his crimes, take into account the tears, the pain, the private anguish.”

’Because of you, I trust no one’

The university still faces 30 other suits. It has set aside $60 million for payouts.

Kline said 25 or 26 of the suits are expected to be settled in the next week or two.

Penn State sent a statement to CNN saying, “The University continues to make progress on multiple settlements but does not have a comment at this time.”

Kline called the settlement involving Victim 5 “win, win.”

Penn State, he said, has accepted “responsibility” and “has earned a right to move forward.”

Kline said Victim 5 has agreed to bring no further claims against the school as part of the deal.

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The abuse

Sandusky sexually assaulted Victim 5 in August 2001, six months after then-graduate assistant Michael McQueary walked in on Sandusky raping a boy in a campus shower – and reported it to college officials. Victim 5 was also assaulted in Penn State showers, Kline said.

During Sandusky’s sentencing, Victim 5 told the court he will never forget the image of Sandusky “forcing himself on me and forcing my hand on him.”

Sandusky’s life in prison

At least three of Sandusky’s known victims were abused after 2001, according to testimony at last year’s trial of the former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator.

The victims have sued the school, saying it knew about the abuse but didn’t act on that knowledge.

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The fallout

The sex abuse scandal led to the 2011 firing of Penn State’s head football coach, Joe Paterno, and the ouster of the university’s longtime president Graham Spanier. Paterno died last year of lung cancer.

Last month, a judge ruled that Spanier and two senior administrators will face trial on obstruction of justice and other charges related to the scandal.

State prosecutors allege that Spanier, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice President Gary Schultz all knew about two allegations made against Sandusky in 1998 and in 2001, but lied about their knowledge when a grand jury convened several years later.

Ex-university officials accused of ‘conspiracy of silence’

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Victim 5 might testify in their trials, his lawyer said. He was assaulted shortly after the incident McQueary witnessed in the same location – an act that could have been prevented had proper reporting taken place, Kline said.

“The incident that involved my client could have and should have been stopped,” Kline said.

Attorneys for the three claim there is no evidence of a cover-up. Yet prosecutors characterized their actions as a conscious decision not to call police.

“There was a conspiracy of silence,” prosecutor Bruce Beemer said during the July hearing. “They are not relieved of criminal responsibility because their conspiracy worked for 10 years.”

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CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.