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Penn State trustees authorize settlements with victims of Jerry Sandusky

At least 30 men have come forward to claim that Jerry Sandusky, pictured leaving the Centre County (Penn.) Courthouse after having been sentenced in October, sexually abused them as children. Patrick Smith / Getty Images

Penn State University trustees gave the go-ahead Friday for the school to start making settlement offers to some of the child sexual abuse victims of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

No settlement agreements have been signed, the university said in a statement, adding that negotiations with men who have made claims against the school are confidential.

"Today's action is yet another important step toward the resolution of claims from Sandusky's victims," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said. "As we have previously said, the university intends to deal with these individuals in a fair and expeditious manner, with due regard to their privacy."

More than 30 men have claimed that Sandusky, 69, sexually abused them when they were children. Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in October and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison. 

The school said it would have no further comment on potential settlements until they're signed, sealed and delivered, which it said it hoped to have done with "a majority of the complainants within the next several weeks."

The vote by the university's Board of Trustees comes on the anniversary of a damning report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, whom the board hired to conduct an independent investigation of the school's handling of allegations against Sandusky.

Freeh found that Graham Spanier, then the university's president, two other senior executives and legendary football coach Joe Paterno "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade." Paterno died last year.

Spanier — who is awaiting trial on charges of perjury in connection with his grand jury testimony in the Sandusky case, as well as charges of obstruction, conspiracy, endangering the welfare of children and failure to properly report suspected abuse — filed a notice Thursday that he is suing Freeh for libel and defamation.

Erickson, the current president, made no mention of the case in his opening remarks at the trustees' meeting Friday. The university said Thursday that it had implemented all but three of the 119 recommendations Freeh made. 

One was later dropped as part of an agreement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the two others are status reports due in the future, it said.

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