PSU trustees mulling offers, but settlements not imminent

Penn State added goalkeeper Eamon McAdam of Perkasie and defenseman David Thompson. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

While the family of Joe Paterno was mounting an offensive to restore the football coach's reputation, Pennsylvania State University's board of trustees were hearing details of just how much the child sex abuse scandal could potentially cost the school.

Kenneth R. Feinberg, the lawyer hired by PSU to help settle the civil claims by victims of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, presented offers from about half of the victims to some trustees at a meeting in Philadelphia on Friday.

That was the same day that Sue Paterno issued a statement, criticizing the firing of her husband in the wake of the Sandusky charges as "rash and irresponsible." She further defended her husband during an ABC interview with Katie Couric on Monday.

Any resolution in the civil cases is likely still weeks away, officials said.

The board of trustees' next scheduled meeting is on March 15 in Hershey. It's not known whether the board will be ready to vote on settlements at that point.

Feinberg said he's not sure how long it will take to reach settlement with all the victims.

"It's accelerating. It's very intense. We'll see," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "The process is moving forward."

Feinberg shared the offers with some members of the board of trustees and their lawyers in the two-hour meeting.

"Penn State listened and is taking it under advisement," Feinberg said.

He declined to provide any details on the amount or terms of the offers.

Penn State spokesman David La Torre declined comment.

Philadelphia Attorney Thomas Kline, who represents the man identified in court documents as Victim Five, issued a two-paragraph statement, which seems to indicate he is irritated that Feinberg made a statement about the negotiations.

"The confidential negotiations are at a delicate and sensitive stage and best private between various parties and PSU," Kline wrote. "Public statements at this particular point pertaining to demands and offers, in my view, do not advance Penn State's end game of settling the claims globally."