by Geoff Rushton
Penn State has settled one of the remaining lawsuits against the university by men who say they were abused by Jerry Sandusky in the mid-2000s.
As first reported by the Associated Press, a notice was posted on Monday on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas website that the case brought be a plaintiff identified as John Doe had been settled.
A trial date of Feb. 28 had been scheduled for the suit, which was first filed in 2016. According to court filings, the alleged victim said he met Sandusky in 2005 through Sandusky’s Second Mile charity for at-risk youth and that in 2007 Sandusky took him to Bucknell University to visit a football coach. The complaint claims that on the way there Sandusky began touching the boy’s thigh and on the way back he fondled the boy’s genitals. The plaintiff was about 14 years old at the time.
Penn State attorneys had argued in court filings that the university had no duty of care to a person it did not know for alleged abuse by a former employee that occurred off-campus.
The lawsuit claimed negligence and recklessness on the part of Penn State. The alleged abuse occurred after Sandusky had retired as a Penn State football assistant coach and after former assistant coach Mike McQueary reported to administrators in 2001 about seeing Sandusky with a boy in a locker room shower.
Attorneys for John Doe wrote in the lawsuit that their client had testified before a grand jury about Sandusky.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is serving a 30 to 60 year sentence in state prison. A defendant in the case settled on Monday, Sandusky refused to leave his cell when attorneys for John Doe attempted to depose him in April 2017.
One lawsuit remains against Penn State involving a claim of abuse by Sandusky. Also filed in Philadelphia court, that suit alleges that the plaintiff, identified as Jack Doe, met Sandusky in the summer of 2003 or 2004 when he was 16 or 17 years old and attending a hockey camp at Penn State. He says was upset that other players soaked his clothing and that Sandusky came over and began talking to him. Sandusky then brought the boy to a nearby campus facility and got dry clothes for him, according to the complaint.
Jack Doe alleges that Sandusky then began rubbing his neck and shoulders and insisted on staying in the room while he changed. He claims Sandusky insisted on driving him to the dorm where he was staying and that on the way Sandusky fondled his genitals. After he pushed Sandusky’s hand away, Sandusky allegedly touched him again.
Penn State has paid about $110 million to settle with at least 35 individuals who say they were abused by Sandusky.
The bulk of the settlements reached by the university for abuse claims came in 2013, when 26 settlement agreements were reached totaling $93 million. Six more cases were settled in 2015.
The university’s financial audit for 2016-17 says it paid out $16 million, though does not state to how many accusers.
Penn State’s costs stemming from the Sandusky scandal are estimated at well over $230 million, including settlements, legal fees and fines.