UPDATE 1-Sex abuse lawsuits lead Moody's to cut Penn State rtg
Oct 26 (Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service downgraded Pennsylvania State University's credit rating to Aa2 from Aa1 on Friday because of a likely blow to the school's finances from lawsuits related to the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. The action affects about $893 million of Penn State's outstanding debt. Sandusky, Penn State's former assistant football coach, was sentenced on Oct. 9 to 30 to 60 years in prison for 45 counts of child sex abuse. He is appealing the convictions. The molestation scandal has already prompted several lawsuits against the school by victims and at least one whistleblower seeking $8 million in damages. Penn State's board implemented measures to speed up legal settlements, but the full cost of settlements and potential judgments is still unknown and "could be significant," Moody's said in a statement. Probes by state and federal prosecutors are also still ongoing. Moody's outlook on Penn State is now stable with the lowered credit rating. It expects Penn State to "remain a leading U.S. public university with favorable student demand, positive operating performance, high donor support and a strong research position." On Oct. 15, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised the outlook on Penn State's AA rating to negative from stable, citing potential financial fallout from the Sandusky case.