WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pennsylvania State University has enough insurance coverage to deal with lawsuits that might result from its child sexual abuse scandal, President Rodney Erickson said.
The school wants to settle any lawsuits “as quickly as possible,” Erickson reaffirmed in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” program that airs on Sunday.
A summary of his remarks was posted on Saturday on the program’s website.
He was quoted as saying the school was “adequately covered” against lawsuits that might arise. Jerry Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, including at Penn State facilities, in one of the worst scandals in college sports.
The university is involved in a legal battle with its main liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co, over who should have to pay for any civil suits in the Sandusky scandal. It also owns its own insurer, Nittany Insurance Co of Vermont.
Lawyers for one of the key victims in the Sandusky case said this week he was suing the university for contributing to the abuse.
Sandusky’s 2001 sexual assault of the man, known as Victim 2, in a locker room shower was at the heart of the scandal that engulfed Penn State. He was one of two victims not to testify at the trial.
The case against Sandusky, who faces a prison term of up to 373 years when he is sentenced, rocked the storied Penn State football program and tarnished the legacy of the late Joe Paterno, the team’s longtime coach.
An independent investigation commissioned by Penn State and released two weeks ago concluded that Penn State officials were alerted to Sandusky’s abuse, did nothing to stop it and decided against reporting it to authorities.
Erickson said in a Washington Post opinion piece on Saturday that he did not suggest the NCAA sanctions imposed last week and did not take the repercussions lightly.
But the sanctions - a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl game ban, reduced football scholarships and the forfeiture of 112 wins - were preferable to “the alternative” of a multi-year ban on football, he said.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Peter Cooney