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Sunday, September 24, 2023


Victims get justice as Sandusky scandal comes to an end

In what will hopefully serve as a conclusion to one of the decade’s most reprehensible offenses, Penn State has reached a settlement agreement with the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuses.

It’s not an act of closure by any means, but it’s one of the few tangible ways in which these transgressors can still perform their penance.

According to Deadspin, the university has reached a settlement agreement of $59.7 million for the 26 victims. The originally speculated amount of $60 million, which was reported this summer by the Philadelphia Enquirer, seems to have rung true.

Gawker reports the university as having rejected six of the 32 total claims because they were “without merit.” It’s obviously a matter of legality, but the urge to make a comment about the pot calling the kettle black remains, nonetheless.

The news originally came out on the university’s website, where officials tastefully disclosed the hopefully last bits of information on the scandal by which they’ve been branded.

“We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky and another step forward for Penn State,” announced University President Rodney Erickson on Penn State’s website. “We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State.”

The reparations won’t be covered by a tuition hike or some incognito fee plastered onto the bills of the university’s 45,000 students — Penn State isn’t exactly in a position to afford any more bad press. Rather, the university’s website explained that the university has insurance policies in the case of such liabilities, and that those should foot the majority of the bill.

The site also went on to explain that any shortages on the insurance’s end will be covered by interest payments from the university’s loan system, and that smells like some semblance of a victory, at least. A day when swift justice is brought via the loss of profits from student loans? That’s something a college student can stand behind.

In all seriousness, though, I’m sure I’m not the only one struggling to feel that sense of true, intrinsic justice at the ending of this 15-year-long horror story.

It’s tough to regard this as a victory. On the one hand, much of our nation’s populace has grown to attribute the university with as much responsibility for Sandusky’s villainies as Sandusky himself. If anything, this sort of news is a nice taste of vengeance. It’s a thing close to exacting our revenge against those responsible for the agony and emotional torment that will plague the victims for the rest of their lives.

It’ll afford each of the victims — those who were admissible in court, at least — roughly $2.3 million to help them seek additional counsel or start anew in a new burrow.

It also might just be giving them a huge stack of tiny, flammable scraps of paper covered in images of an aging man’s face. Maybe the money will be the conduit for a grand act of catharsis, and that’s perfectly okay, too.

Really, the only fitting reparation in this situation would be a time machine. Until that dream becomes a reality, we’ll just have to make sure we live in a world where these sorts of things stand out as disgraceful and continue to refuse their acceptance as a commonality.

Regardless, the die’s been rolled and Sandusky is in jail. The fight’s coming to an end, sure, but it’s not something that’ll ever truly be over.

Senior staff columnist Cara Smith is a communications junior and may be reached at [email protected].


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