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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after a post-sentence hearing last month. / Gene J. Puskar, AP

WASHINGTON - Penn State University plans to begin contacting some victims of convicted child sex offender Jerry Sandusky as soon as next week with possible settlement proposals, an attorney involved in the matter said Saturday.

Kenneth Feinberg, retained by the university to handle discussions with victims' attorneys, said the school "may respond to some of the demands made by individual claimants ? with settlement offers of its own.''

"The process continues,'' Feinberg said, adding that resolutions for the entire group of victims would likely take "weeks, not days.''

Earlier this month, the university received settlement demands or terms from representatives of at least 25 possible victims of Sandusky's abuse.

Feinberg has declined to characterize the demands or elaborate on the discussions with victims' attorneys.

The number of possible claimants could run as high as 30, far more than the 10 victims whose abuse was at the center of Sandusky's criminal trial. The former coach was convicted in June on 45 counts involving all 10 victims during a period of 15 years.

Sandusky, who continues to appeal his conviction, was sentenced in October to a prison term of at least 30 years.

Immediately after Sandusky's conviction, Penn State officials expressed their interest in seeking settlements, outlining a process to review all victims' claims.

"The purpose of the program is simple,'' Penn State President Rodney Erickson said. "The university wants to provide a forum where the university can privately, expeditiously and fairly address the victims' concerns and compensate them for claims relating to the university.''

Feinberg, who served as special master for the federal government's Victim Compensation Fund after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and other high-profile tragedies, has represented Penn State in the talks that have quietly proceeded during the past eight months.

Earlier this month, Slade McLaughlin, one of the attorneys representing Aaron Fisher, the victim who prompted the criminal inquiry leading to Sandusky's conviction, said communications with Feinberg have been "cordial and encouraging.''

"We have met numerous times and seemed to make a bit more progress towards resolution on each occasion,'' McLaughlin said. "We are looking forward to a final meeting to see if an agreement can be reached to resolve our cases.''

Settlement discussions with the victims only represent part of the legal challenges facing the university in the aftermath of Sandusky's conviction.

The university also faces a lawsuit filed by former assistant football coach Michael McQueary, a key witness against Sandusky. McQueary is seeking $4 million from the school, claiming in part that that the university defamed him by unfairly casting him as a scapegoat following the announcement of criminal charges against Sandusky.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Penn State looking to reach accord on abuse claims

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