By Ben Simmoneau
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) – Negotiators for Penn State University have begun offering financial settlements to the victims of Jerry Sandusky, according to several sources with direct knowledge of the discussions. This means the negotiations have entered a final stage and could wrap up in several weeks time.
There are now 30 individuals claiming to be victims of Sandusky. Sources tell Eyewitness News those cases have been broken into three groups by the university. The most serious could receive settlements in the seven-figures, equating to millions of dollars.
A source associated with the Penn State Board of Trustees also confirms that Penn State’s negotiators, Kenneth Feinberg and Michael Rozen, have evaluated all the claims and provided trustees with an estimated total cost to settle all the cases. The source could not divulge that figure, however.
Neither Feinberg nor Rozen would provide comment for this story.
“The negotiations are at a sensitive and delicate stage,” said Tom Kline, an attorney for victim number five. “We are talking about money and we are talking about noneconomic items as well.”
Kline would not provide additional details, except to say he’s meeting with the university negotiators on Thursday.
“This has moved quite expeditiously,” he said. “I believe that Penn State has been acting in good faith. They have hired very skillful negotiators who have been straightforward.”
Apparently, according to sources, dollar amounts began being discussed this week, but there are many moving parts to these negotiations. The university is likely looking for a vast majority, if not all, of the plaintiffs to agree to settle before it finalizes any individual payout.
The discussions also include non-financial terms, perhaps pledges of reform or policy changes by Penn State.
Jerry Sandusky, once a top assistant football coach at Penn State and revered figure in the State College community, was convicted in June of sexually assaulting eight boys over more than a decade. He is serving a 30 to 60 year prison sentence while his lawyers appeal the conviction.
Several top Penn State administrators, including former university President Graham Spanier, are now facing criminal charges for allegedly covering up and lying about what they knew regarding Sandusky’s behavior.