The attorney for the man known as Victim 5 in the Jerry Sandusky case told the Centre Daily Times late Saturday that his client is the first to finalize a settlement with Penn State in the civil side of the child sex abuse case.
Thomas Kline said he expects other settlements to follow soon. Ken Feinberg and Michael Rozen, attorneys representing Penn State, have been negotiating with more than 30 men who say they were assaulted by Sandusky, who was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
“My client is relieved,” Kline said from Philadelphia. “He testified courageously at the trial and provided pivotal testimony against Sandusky.”
Kline said: “There is no other claim where papers have been exchanged and documents have been signed.”
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Kline would not say how much money will be paid to his client as a result of the settlement. Penn State trustee Ted Brown last month said Penn State would spend $60 million settling the numerous lawsuits connected with the Sandusky case.
“The university continues to make progress on multiple settlements but does not have a comment at this time,” Penn State spokesman David La Torre told the CDT in an email Saturday.
Kline said his negotiations were with Rozen and Penn State trustees representative Ira Lubert, who chairs the board’s legal and compliance committee.
“We’re at the end of a long road,” Kline said, “where Penn State has had to deal not only with me but a dozen other claimants’ lawyers. I do expect other claims to now fall into place. In very short order you should see something like 25 or 26 of what is 31 separate claims settled.”
Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in the state prison system. He will have a hearing in September on his appeal for a new trial.
Victim 5 testified at Sandusky’s trial that he was molested in a shower on the Penn State campus in August 2001. Another alleged shower incident, involving Victim 2, witnessed by then-graduate assistant football coach Mike McQueary, occurred in February of that year.
Kline expects his client to be called to testify at the upcoming trial of former university administrators Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who are accused of failing to report the McQueary incident to authorities and then committing perjury by lying to a grand jury about their knowledge of Sandusky’s alleged actions.
Kline said his client was hurt “by Penn State’s failure to report.”
He added: “Six months after the infamous Michael McQueary incident, along came Sandusky in the shower with a 13-year-old boy, now known as Victim 5, who was assaulted. That could have been prevented.”
Kline said Penn State was committed to reaching an agreement with Victim 5.
“Penn State’s accepting accountability was the key to allowing us to move forward,” Kline said.
A news report from Lancaster Online last week cast some doubt on the claim of it being the first settlement.
A man who was sentenced this week in Lancaster for his role in a violent robbery introduced a letter in court in which a settlement with Penn State was mentioned. The man said he turned to drugs and crime after abuse by Sandusky. The letter is not a public document according to the news report. No amount was announced in that potential settlement.