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Penn State will pay $59.7 million to 26 sexual abuse victims of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the school said Monday.
The terms of the settlements include confidentiality agreements, the school said in a press release. Of the 26 settlements, 23 are signed and three are agreements in principle, with final documentation expected within the next few weeks.
"The Board of Trustees has had as one of its primary objectives to reach settlements in a way that is fair and respects the privacy of the individuals involved," Keith Masser, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement. "This is another important milestone in accomplishing that goal."
University President Rodney Erickson called the agreements "another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State."
Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who represents nine of the victims, said he was pleased with the settlements.
"Obviously no amount of money can compensate for what these young men have gone through," he said. "But Penn State has given them the resources -- financially and counseling -- they need to help them recover."
Andreozzi said he has three more victims he has yet to present to Penn State because "it's not a good time" in their treatment.
No settlements will be funded by student tuition, taxpayer funds or donations, the university said. Expenses not covered by insurance are expected to be funded from interest revenues related to loans made by the school.
Penn State has rejected some of the six remaining claims as being without merit and has engaged others in possible settlement discussions. Penn State has spent more than $50 million on other costs related to the Sandusky scandal, including lawyers' fees, public relations expenses, and adoption of new policies and procedures related to children and sexual abuse complaints.
The abuse scandal rocked the university and the state. Paterno, the school's iconic head coach, was fired shortly after Sandusky was charged in 2011. Paterno died in January 2012, shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Sandusky, 69, was convicted in June 2012 of 45 criminal counts involving abuse over a 15-year period. Several young men testified that Sandusky would shower with them, grope them, and in some cases have oral and anal sex with them.
Sandusky has admitted showering with the boys but has vigorously denied wrongdoing. He has been pursuing appeals while serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence.
In July, a Pennsylvania judge ordered three former Penn State officials, including ousted former president Graham Spanier, to stand trial on criminal charges related to an alleged cover-up that temporarily shielded Sandusky from law enforcement scrutiny.
Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz face charges including perjury, conspiracy and failure to report suspected child abuse.The case largely centers on the testimony of Michael McQueary, a former football assistant coach, who testified that in 2001 he saw Sandusky engaging in a sexual act with a young boy in the showers of a university locker room.
The next day, McQueary testified, he reported the incident to Joe Paterno, then the head football coach. McQueary said he later reported the incident to Schultz and Curley.
Schultz and Curley claim McQueary did not indicate the activity was sexual in nature. And Spanier has said his communications with Schultz and Curley did not include descriptions of sexually charged conduct by the coach.
Although a decision was made, at that time, to ban Sandusky from bringing children into campus facilities, no report was made to police.
John Bacon, USA TODAY
Contributing: Kevin Johnson