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Penn State’s President Hopes To Settle Civil Sex Abuse Claims

(Penn State University President Rodney Erickson. File photo)

(Penn State University President Rodney Erickson. File photo)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Penn State is hoping to settle the lawsuits that have been filed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse investigation, according to university president Rodney Erickson. Erickson gave his most extensive interview since the Jerry Sandusky conviction to CBS, on “Face the Nation,” Sunday morning.

It’s been a tumultuous month for Rodney Erickson. First the Freeh report condemned the culture at Penn State that allowed convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky to seduce victims with his ties to the university football program.

Then the NCAA imposed sanctions aimed at changing that culture by seriously handicapping the program that has been the school’s unifying force and main identity.

But Erickson told CBS he’s hoping to turn a new page by rapidly concluding the civil claims Sandusky’s victims have brought against Penn State (see related story).

“Erickson says he believes Penn State is adequately covered, even though its insurance company maintains it does not cover claims for abuse.”

What the price tag will be on the civil claims against Penn State, arising from the Jerry Sandusky case is unknown.

“The University’s insurance company differs. Pennsylvania Manufacturers says claims arising from “abuse or molestation” are specifically excluded from its policy.”

Tom Kline represents one of the victims. His client has not sued the university and Kline says he’s open to discussions.

“It is a good idea for Penn State to come to a day of reckoning and I’m pleased to see they are moving in the right direction.”

Erickson also explained the $60 million fine levied by the NCAA will be paid by football program reserves and a long term loan to the athletic department from the university.

Erickson defended accepting the NCAA sanctions, saying they were the best way for the University to move forward.

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