After having received severe sanctions from the NCAA, it appears that Penn State intends to settle lawsuits stemming from the sexual abuse of children by its former assistant football coach as quickly as possible. Apparently Penn State carried sufficient general liability insurance that may cover the claims and damages of these child molestation victims, according to a CBS Face the Nation interview with Penn State University’s President. In an interview with CBS Face the Nation, Rodney Erickson expressed a desire to avoid putting those targeted by predatory pedophile Jerry Sandusky through the ordeal of a civil trial. A partial clip of the FACE THE NATION interview with Penn State President Rodney Erickson follows. For the full interview go to the following hyperlink:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now we have the victim of the molestation that the assistant coach saw in the locker room involving Sandusky. His lawyers have come forward and said that he intends to sue the university. I would guess that this is going to be the first of many lawsuits. How is the university going to handle that? I mean do you have insurance? Can you withstand an onslaught of lawsuits?
RODNEY ERICKSON: We have, like any university of our size, both directors and officers, as– as well as general liability coverage, we believe that– that we are adequately covered. In addition to that we cer– we– we hope to be able to– to settle as many of these cases as quickly as possible. We– we don’t want to, if at all possible, drag victims through another round of– of court cases and litigation. If we can come to an agreement with them, with their attorneys, we believe that would be the best possible outcome in this– this whole very, very difficult, tragic situation.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now it’s my understanding that among the sanctions the NCAA imposed, it’s a sixty-million-dollar fine that you will pay out over– over a number of years. Where does that money come from?
RODNEY ERICKSON: We will pay that out in a combination of– of funds. We will use the football program’s financial reserves that– that they have available to them. And in all likelihood the– the university will have to extend the athletic department, a long-term loan that they can pay back as they get on their feet and as we adjust their budget going– going forward in the football program.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you the basic question, as you look back on it now, did Penn State put too much emphasis on football?
RODNEY ERICKSON: Our intercollegiate ath– athletics program has been a– a tremendous success. To the extent that– that some parts of intercollegiate athletics perhaps became too separate and became too much areas under– unto themselves and not sufficiently wrapped into the rest of the university,. That’s something that we– we really are looking at right now and, of course, the– the Freeh report made a number of recommendations with respect to that issue.