Nearly a week after a lawyer disclosed the first settlement between Penn State and one of Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse victims, no other deals have been announced.
Lawyers involved in the talks said Friday they are still working with the university but none has a signed, final agreement. A lawyer brought in by Penn State to facilitate negotiations said earlier this week that he expected 24 more cases out of the total 31 to settle in the near future.
Williamsport lawyer Clifford Rieders said he was working to develop acceptable language about a provision the school wants to let it sue in the victims' names.
“That issue has taken a number of weeks to resolve and is now in the process of being resolved in a way that will be much more beneficial and protective of the victims,” said Rieders, who represents one claimant. “My concern has been that when the case is settled, the victims should be done with it.”
Harrisburg attorney Chuck Schmidt said his client's deal is “pretty much done,” and he expects the paperwork to be signed in the next week.
Jeff Anderson, a lawyer in St. Paul, Minn., who represents two young men, called his negotiations “a work in progress.”
“We're not at a total impasse and we're not at a resolution, that's for sure,” he said.
Anderson said one of his two clients, a man named Travis Weaver who has filed suit and publicly discussed his claims against the former Penn State assistant football coach, is making allegations that go back before 1998, the year Penn State police investigated Sandusky for showering with a boy.
“Nobody's looked at the pre-'98 stuff,” Anderson said, noting that Penn State's own review of Sandusky's actions focused on the school's handling of the 1998 incident and a 2001 complaint by a graduate assistant about Sandusky with another boy in the team showers.
“What that case does is open up a box in discovery they may never want to have opened,” Anderson said.
Deals with the nine clients represented by Ben Andreozzi, a Harrisburg lawyer, are close, Andreozzi said.
“I can't say when everything's going to get completed, but we're very close and making a lot of progress,” Andreozzi said.
The one deal announced so far involves the man known as Victim 5, who testified at Sandusky's trial last year. That man's lawyer, Tom Kline, said Friday that the wording of the release that assigns to Penn State the right to sue in his name might need to be changed, but he said that was a relatively minor matter.
“It's not, in my view, a material issue that changes the fact there are agreements in principle,” Kline said.
A Penn State spokesman on Friday said the talks continued to progress but declined further comment.
Sandusky, 69, a former longtime defensive coach under Joe Paterno, was convicted last summer of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a decades-long state prison sentence. He maintains he is innocent, and an appeals hearing is scheduled for next month in Dallas, Pa.