The devastating report blaming Penn State and its top officials for covering up the sexual abuse of children by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky could increase the university’s exposure to potentially huge civil damages, legal experts told Reuters.Penn State, which reported $4.6 billion of revenue in its fiscal year ended in June 2011 and has an endowment topping $1.8 billion, has already been sued by at least one of Sandusky’s accusers and others are expected to initiate litigation as well.
The 267-page report, overseen by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, will give them new ammunition to hold the university liable, said Andrew Stoltmann, a civil litigator based in Chicago. In other sex abuse scandals, notably the one that rocked the Catholic Church, such damning evidence of efforts to cover up wrongdoing has been hard to come by. “You don’t typically see a road map like this provided,” said Stoltmann, who is not involved in the case. Sandusky, 68, was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years and faces life in prison. The Freeh report concluded that the school’s leaders covered up years of abuse by Sandusky in an effort to preserve the university’s reputation.