Penn State University has settled 26 civil claims related to sexual abuse and exploitation perpetrated by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The total amount that settlement approaches $60 million.
The settlement is a bittersweet acknowledgment for the victims, all of whom were minors when they were manipulated, betrayed, and sexually molested by Sandusky, a trusted authority figure who had served as their mentor. While the settlement allows Penn State to move beyond the Sandusky debacle, the pain and emotional scars left by the abuse remain for the survivors. Settlements such as this one provide a somewhat mixed victory for survivors. No amount of money will give them happy and secure childhood memories. However, their courage and their ability to come forward and call out a powerful man like Jerry Sandusky is the first step in the direction of healing and wholeness.
Perhaps the greater victory lies in the institutional reforms vowed by Penn State University. Of course, time will tell if those reforms are implemented in such a manner that ensures the protection of children. For now, we salute the courage of the victims in their efforts to protect children in the future.