(Reuters) - Penn State University agreed to pay US$59.7 million (S$73.9 million) to 26 victims of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, settling the bulk of claims in a major step to move beyond a scandal that upended one of US college football's most lucrative teams.
The university said in a statement it reached the settlements in the wake of Sandusky's conviction in June 2012 for sexually abusing boys while he was an assistant football coach and after he retired.
"We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State," university 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," he added.
Claims from six other men who said Sandusky abused them as children have been rejected or may result in possible settlements, the school said.
Sandusky, 69, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, in a case that tarnished the reputation of Penn State and its late football coach Joe Paterno, who lost his job for failing to report Sandusky to authorities.
"There is some sense of affirmation, but there remains the deep wounds and scars that are wide open and every day it's a struggle," said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for the last two victims to accept the settlement.
The figure is close to the US$60 million (S$74.2 million) fine imposed by the NCAA - the equivalent of the annual gross revenue of the football programme - along with other sanctions.
The victim settlement comes on top of US$50 million (S$61.9 million) already spent on fines, legal bills and other costs linked to the scandal that rocked the university after a grand jury indicted Sandusky in November 2011.