Jerry Sandusky Scandal

PMA wants to bar evidence on older Sandusky claims

A Philadelphia judge will be making a decision about Penn State’s settlements in some of the oldest allegations against Jerry Sandusky.

On Tuesday, the university’s liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, petitioned Judge Gary Glazer to keep evidence about those older claims from being presented at trial.

Penn State and PMA are suing each other over who pays what regarding the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The university argues it paid for liability policies for years to cover settlements and legal fees. PMA counters that prior allegations against Sandusky should have been disclosed to the company.

The university has settled 32 claims, a total of almost $93 million before legal fees and the cost of the commissioned investigation of the scandal by former FBI director Louis Freeh. Only 10 victims were established in Sandusky’s criminal case, which saw him convicted of 45 counts of various crimes in 2012.

The first claim was filed in November 2011, after the grand jury recommended charges against Sandusky, after Penn State fired Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier and after Freeh was hired. That first claim, John Doe A, said his case dated to molestation between 1992 and 1996, while Sandusky was still the Nittany Lions football defensive coordinator.

Other claims have dated back as early as the 1970s.

According to PMA, “approximately 14 of the victim claims, including the Doe A claim, were barred by the statute of limitations.”

The company argued in its motion that Penn State witnesses were “instructed not to answer any questions concerning how PSU arrived at the decision to settle particular victim claims and for what amounts, on the basis of the attorney-client privilege.”

Glazer issued an order Wednesday giving Penn State until Aug. 19 to respond to the PMA motion.

However, in an op-ed from mediator Kenneth Feinberg published this week, there was some response.

“Every case had a ‘settlement value,’ which took into account such additional factors as: the date of the claimed abuse; the nature of the proof of sexual abuse advanced by the claimant; the talent and skill of the lawyer representing the claimant; the venue where the case would ultimately be tried before a jury and the date of the scheduled trial; the potential costs associated with a protracted trial; and the very real risk of confronting adverse verdicts much higher than those demanded by the claimants during the mediation,” he wrote.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce