The word “closure” is one of those soggy cliches overused by the media, and it’s sure to be trotted out the next couple of days in reference to the nearly $60 million Penn State is paying to victims of Jerry Sandusky’s long-running horror show of sexual abuse while university officials looked the other way.
When the 26 separate settlements were announced Monday, Rodney Erickson, Penn State’s president, declared the payout was “another step forward in the healing process” and the university “cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure that it never happens again.” University officials also offered assurances that Penn State’s students would not have to shoulder the burden of the settlement through increased tuition, with the money coming instead from liability insurance policies.
Of course, substantial dollar amounts being funneled to 26 individuals, coming to about $2.3 million per person, will not be sufficient to ease the suffering of Sandusky’s victims, many of whom are likely to need many years of counseling. As an attorney for one of them told The New York Times, “You can never make whole anyone who is raped by another individual.”
With Sandusky, a former assistant football coach and Washington native, now safely stashed away at the state correctional institution in Greene County and unlikely to ever take a breath as a free man again, the remaining chapter in the whole, stomach-churning saga will be written when former athletic director Tim Curley, former president Graham Spanier and former vice president Gary Schultz are tried on criminal counts that they knew about Sandusky’s activities and sought to cover them up for the sake of the football program’s reputation.
Once the fate of Curley, Spanier and Schultz is decided, perhaps then there will finally be a sense of resolution in this whole sorry scandal.