Sandusky prison letter blasts Penn State settlements with victims

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2013 4:20 PM
Sandusky prison letter blasts Penn State settlements with victims

By Daniel Kelley

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Disgraced former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of sexually abusing boys, in a letter from prison lashed out at the school's legal settlements with his victims.

Sandusky, who last year was convicted of 45 counts of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, in a letter to a documentary filmmaker seeking to exonerate Sandusky's former boss, Joe Paterno, argued that the school didn't take steps to defend its employees.

"The only concern from the beginning of this by administrators and trustees has been to protect their image," Sandusky wrote. "They didn't question what they called 'victims,' instead they opened their arms and offered settlements, psychologists, public events and media presentations."

Sandusky, who has denied any criminal activity, raised his complaints in a hand-written letter dated August 20 to filmmaker John Ziegler, who runs a blog called "The Framing of Joe Paterno."

Paterno, the winningest coach in Division I college football history until he was stripped of more than 100 victories because of the scandal, lost his job for failing to report Sandusky to authorities. He died early last year at the age of 85, about two months after he was fired.

Penn State officials did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Sandusky's letter focuses on one victim in particular, a man identified in court documents as Victim 5, who testified against Sandusky at trial and who was the first to reach a legal settlement with the school.

Victim 5's case was seen as one of the most significant for the school, because his abuse occurred in August 2001, six months after then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary reported seeing Sandusky raping a boy in a campus shower, according to Tom Kline, Victim 5's lawyer.

Sandusky wrote that his lawyer viewed Victim 5's claims as inconsistent and not worth focusing on.

"Mr. Sandusky, who is appropriately spending the rest of his life in jail, is simply lashing out," Kline said. "Make no mistake about it, the testimony given by my client was accurate and compelling."

Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30 to 60 year sentence.

Penn State has reached settlements with 25 of 31 men who claimed they were abused by Sandusky when they were boys, Kline said.

The terms of those settlements have not been disclosed, but the school has authorized $60 million in payouts.

Former university President Graham Spanier and two other former university officials face trial on charges they conspired to cover up the 2001 abuse case reported by McQueary.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)