New Castle News

Sports

December 28, 2013

Penn State scandal played out in courts over 2013

HARRISBURG — Penn State paid millions to settle claims of child sexual abuse, three university administrators accused of a cover-up fought the charges and NCAA penalties were dialed down slightly as the Jerry Sandusky scandal continued to play out in many different ways over the past year.

Sandusky spent the year working on appeals from inside a high-security prison in southwestern Pennsylvania, losing before the trial judge and Superior Court, and ending the calendar year awaiting word on whether the state Supreme Court will take the case.

Sandusky’s lawyer argued the case was rushed to trial so quickly that the defense was unprepared, the judge mishandled a jury instruction about the length of time it took victims to come forward and a prosecutor crossed a line by making reference in closing arguments to the fact that Sandusky did not take the stand in his own defense.

The biggest development this year was Penn State’s announcement that it was paying $59.7 million to 26 accusers, leaving about a half-dozen claims to resolve.

In January, Gov. Tom Corbett announced he was filing a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA to challenge the Sandusky-related penalties against Penn State that included a $60 million fine, a ban on post-season play and a temporary loss of scholarships.

The NCAA succeeded in getting Corbett’s lawsuit thrown out in June, and about two months later, the organization announced that as a result of the steps the school has taken to address the scandal, it would restore those football scholarships more quickly than scheduled.

After the Legislature and Corbett enacted a new law to require the $60 million fine remain in Pennsylvania, the NCAA sued in federal court, seeking to have it overturned. That case and a state court lawsuit seeking to uphold the new law are both pending.

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