Big news out of Penn State today: The university reports that ever since former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 of 45 criminal accounts, the university has been determined to compensate the victims. And today, that compensation has not only been finalized but made public knowledge. After negotiations that have lasted about a year, Penn will pay out $59.7 million to 26 young men over claims of child sexual abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky.
While that's definitely a HUGE sum, it's hard to feel much any sort of comfort from this. As the AP notes, the university spent $50 mil. alone on other costs related to the Sandusky scandal (such as lawyers' fees, public relations expenses, and adoption of new policies and procedures related to children and sexual abuse complaints), so that kind of makes $59.7 to the victims look a wee bit paltry by comparison. What's more, even if they were to have come up with a much larger number, would it matter?
In other words, what difference does it make how much money Penn is willing to fork over to the victims? There's absolutely NO amount of money out there that can rectify what Sandusky did to these young men. Furthermore, won't the money only serve as a disturbing reminder of a horrifying experience no one should ever have had to endure? Are these victims really going to take heart in spending the payout money ... to buy a new car, put a downpayment on a home, etc.? Maaaybe, but I still feel like it's twisted and tainted.
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At the very least, this money can go toward ensuring the victims have their mental health care costs covered! I'd also like to hear what, if any, Penn is paying out now to organizations and charities that protect and defend against child/sexual abuse, as other institutions have done with their settlement from the fallout of the scandal.
Don't get me wrong -- paying out millions to the victims is better than doing nothing. Penn owes them at least that. But it's not like anyone should fool themselves that this compensation makes things right. We're talking about ruined lives and scars that won't ever fade no matter how much money is thrown at 'em.
How do you think the victims feel about this payout? What else do you think Penn should be doing in the aftermath of Sandusky's conviction?
Image via Matt Rourke/AP/Corbis