Penn State’s costs for legal fees, consultants and public relations firms hired to help deal with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal have reached nearly $17 million, the university said in an online report that it updates regularly.
The university said it has spent almost $16.8 million through June 30. Nearly $10 million of that went to seven firms for what Penn State calls internal investigation and crisis communications, including a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who led the school’s internal investigation in the scandal and said that former coach Joe Paterno and three former school officials concealed allegations against Sandusky. Those conclusions are firmly denied by the Paterno family and the officials.
Nearly $4 million went for university legal services and defense, plus $1.6 million for the legal defense of the three former officials, former university Athletic Director Timothy Curley, former university vice president Gary Schultz and former president Graham Spanier.
The university is facing mounting lawsuits from Sandusky’s accusers, and the NCAA leveled a $60 million fine against the school in July. Penn State has signaled its interest in settling claims with Sandusky’s victims.
Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 criminal counts and is in prison awaiting sentencing. Jury selection for the criminal case against Curley and Schultz was set for Jan. 7 inside a county courtroom in Harrisburg. Spanier has not been charged, and state prosecutors have said their investigation is continuing.
The school said the costs for the legal defense and public relations are not paid by student tuition, taxpayer funds or donations. It said it maintains insurance policies that are expected to cover the defense of claims while other expenses not covered by policies are expected to be covered by interest payments on loans it makes to self-supporting units.
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