Penn State: $59.7 million to settle claims

University Park, PA ( - Penn State said Monday it has agreed to pay $59.7 million to settle 26 claims of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky.

Terms of the settlements were kept confidential, but the university said 23 are fully signed and three others are agreed to in principle and are expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.

"We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State," Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in a statement.

"We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State."

Sandusky was found guilty in June 2012 on 45 of 48 counts charging the former assistant football coach of sexual abuse against 10 boys over 15 years. He was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison.

The university received claims from 32 people alleging abuse by Sandusky. Of the other six, some were rejected as being without merit and some are being considered for possible settlements, the university said.

Penn State believes liability insurance policies will cover the cost of the settlements. The university said none of the money will come from student tuition, taxpayers or donations.

Sandusky's arrest, trial and conviction cast a pall over Penn State and the surrounding area linked so firmly to the university and rocked the football program, leading to the firing of longtime head coach Joe Paterno and heavy NCAA sanctions.

Sandusky, 69, has always maintained his innocence. His appeal for a new trial was denied earlier this month by a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel.