PSU weighing Sandusky case settlement demands

HARRISBURG – The lawyer brought in by Penn State to help settle Jerry Sandusky-related claims said Monday that he recently gave university officials monetary settlement offers from most of the people asserting they were molested by the former assistant football coach.

Attorney Ken Feinberg told The Associated Press that he delivered the demands to Penn State administrators, lawyers and members of the board of trustees during a meeting Friday in Philadelphia.

“The next step is Penn State – we’ll see how Penn State responds in the next few weeks,” Feinberg said.

Asked about the meeting, a university spokesman declined to comment. Reactions by lawyers for the claimants ranged from hopefulness to no comment. None would say what dollar figure he or she is seeking.

Feinberg “has assured us that within a degree of somewhat certainty, like 85 percent, he thinks he can get our case settled,” said Harrisburg attorney Chuck Schmidt, whose client’s lawsuit is on hold. “So far as it moving forward, I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Bala Cynwyd lawyer Mike Boni, who represents Aaron Fisher, the young man whose story launched the investigation into Sandusky and who wrote a book about the abuse, said Feinberg’s response to his settlement offer was “hope springs eternal.”

“He said what he had to say, which is, ‘You’re asking for too much, I’ll see what I can deliver,'” Boni said. “At the end of the day, I don’t think we’re all that far apart.”

Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term for the sexual abuse of 10 boys over 15 years, including attacks on children inside Penn State athletics facilities. Penn State’s president issued a statement the day Sandusky was convicted in June, vowing to settle “privately, expeditiously and fairly.”

Feinberg disclosed last month that he was working with 28 claimants, 18 more than were the subject of Sandusky’s criminal trial. He emphasized Monday that not all claimants have made settlement demands.

Also Monday, a Penn State trustee called on the university governing board to re-examine the findings of former FBI director Louis Freeh’s school-sanctioned investigation into the scandal.

A critique released this weekend by Joe Paterno’s family raised “serious and troubling” questions about Freeh’s findings, trustee Alvin Clemens said in a statement.

Freeh’s firm was hired by the board of trustees to perform “an independent, full and complete investigation of the Sandusky scandal,” said Clemens, a trustee since 1995. “In addition to questions about accuracy and fairness, there is little question that the Freeh report is less than complete.”

Through a spokesman, the school declined comment on Clemens’ request.