After the shocking details of Jerry Sandusky’s child sexual abuse, after the meticulously documented cover-up by university leaders, could Pennsylvania State University’s legal exposure get any worse? Yes, legal experts tell the Philadelphia Inquirer, much worse. Even before release of Louis Freeh’s report detailing Sandusky’s predations and administrators’ efforts to hide them, the university faced an avalanche of lawsuits from the former assistant football coach’s victims.
Given the cover-up’s duration – 14 years – and the multiple acts of sexual abuse Freeh detailed, plaintiffs’ lawyers say the university’s exposure now could reach $100 million or more. And that does not include the money Penn State will spend for its own legal defense – or the additional damage to the university’s reputation. “This is a lot worse than what I anticipated,” said Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago-based litigator. “The risks for Penn State in going through discovery and leaving a decision in the hands of a jury could be cataclysmic.” New victims are almost sure to come forward with new allegations in new lawsuits. Plaintiffs’ lawyers will subpoena university records and place senior officials under oath, disclosing each damaging detail in a form of litigation water torture. Such tactics are typically used to pressure defendants and leverage more favorable settlements.