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Penn State abuse scandal far from over

Sandusky's sentencing does not end legal crisis for university

Oct. 9, 2012
Jerry Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years
Jerry Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, whose sexual abuse of children triggered a cascading crisis that still shadows the state's largest university, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse on Tuesday after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case in Bellefonte, Pa. He was sentenced to at least 30 years. / Getty Images
Joe Amendola, at podium, attorney for former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, speaks after the sentencing. / AP


BELLEFONTE, Pa. - Jerry Sandusky officially begins the first day of the rest of his life in prison today, barring a successful appeal.

But the 30-year minimum sentence imposed by Judge John Cleland on the former Penn State assistant football coach does not end a legal crisis that continues to grip Penn State University.

In less than three months, a criminal trial is set to open in Harrisburg, where Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz are charged with lying to the grand jury that investigated the former coach’s crimes.

Many of Sandusky’s victims have either filed or are poised to press lawsuits against the university, alleging the school allowed Sandusky to lure many of them to the campus where many of the assaults occurred. This month, the victim who triggered the investigation against Sandusky — designated by the state grand jury as “Victim 1” — is scheduled to publish a book outlining his experiences.

In a separate lawsuit, former Penn State assistant coach Michael McQueary seeks at least $4 million, alleging that the school fired him because of his cooperation in the cases against Sandusky, Curley and Schultz.

Shortly after Sandusky’s sentencing, Pennsylvania prosecutor Joseph McGettigan said the state’s broad criminal investigation was continuing, while federal authorities pursue a separate inquiry.

“I think we are a long way from reaching closure,” said John Nichols, a former Penn State Faculty Senate chairman. “We all wish we had done more — I’m among those who do not believe that what Sandusky did and the way the university responded or failed to respond is the sign of a cultural sickness in the community. I think there is a public perception of that; we have not gotten over that hurdle yet. We may never.”

Once Sandusky is in prison, Duquesne University law professor Wes Oliver said, the focus of the scandal should shift from the courtroom to the boardroom and settlement discussions.

“It is to Penn State’s advantage to settle this quickly,” Oliver said. “Everyday that it doesn’t is a day that it stays in the news cycle.”

Drexel University law professor Barry Furrow said that if the university does not agree to a mass settlement, it could take two years to “chew through” the civil litigation.

Ben Andreozzi, a Harrisburg lawyer who represents Victim 4, said, “This is not just about writing a check. It’s about acknowledging that they did wrong and doing something about it.”

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