John Bacon, USA TODAY
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 agreed 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."
The settlements won't 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, not long after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Sandusky, 69, was convicted in June 2012 of 45 criminal counts after eight young men testified against him. They told how Sandusky would shower with them, grope them, even have oral and anal sex with them. Sandusky, 69, 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.
A Pennsylvania judge ordered Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz to face charges including perjury, conspiracy and failure to report suspected child abuse.