Penn State trustee quits race week after Sandusky comments
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) A Penn State University trustee who told a publication he was ''running out of sympathy'' for people he described as ''so-called victims'' of Jerry Sandusky said Wednesday he is no longer seeking a second term on the board.
Alumni-elected trustee Al Lord's announcement during a forum was first reported by Pennlive.com (http://bit.ly/2nYOGWG ).
The retired bank executive drew criticism for his Sandusky comments to The Chronicle of Higher Education. The comments followed former Penn State president Graham Spanier's misdemeanor child endangerment conviction on March 24 for his handling of a 2001 complaint against Sandusky.
Lord, elected in 2014, has been part of a group of nine alumni-elected trustees who have clashed with other board members about how the university has responded to the scandal involving Sandusky, the school's retired defensive football coach now in prison on a child molestation conviction.
''I'll continue to work with you guys,'' Lord told other alumni candidates. ''I'm just not sitting through any more of those meetings.''
Lord sent an email to the Chronicle after Spanier's conviction that said he was ''running out of sympathy for 35 yr old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth.''
He released a statement several days ago to the Daily Collegian, the Penn State student newspaper, apologizing for ''any pain the comment may have caused actual victims.''
Anthony Lubrano, a fellow alumni-elected trustee and Lord ally, said Lord told him the decision not to seek another term was not related to his comments to the Chronicle.
''Of course I'm disappointed,'' said Lubrano, who deferred comment on Lord's comments regarding Sandusky victims. ''Al was the most cerebral member of the board. He'll be missed.''
It's unclear whether Lord's name will appear on board election ballots that will start going out Monday. A university spokeswoman said Wednesday that vendors will have to be alerted soon to change the ballots. The election runs through May 4.
Eight men testified at Sandusky's trial they had been sexually abused by the former coach when they were children. Sandusky was convicted of abusing all of them along with two others.
The school has said it has settled civil claims of abuse at Sandusky's hands with at least 33 men, paying out more than $90 million. The Sandusky scandal has cost the school much more than that, including NCAA and federal sanctions and fines, as well as legal fees, public relations costs and the expense of making significant structural and procedural changes.
Lord was a strong supporter of Spanier and attended his trial. He told the Chronicle he wondered why Sandusky victims ''were so prominent in trial.''
Only one Sandusky victim testified at Spanier's trial, a young man who said he had been abused in a team shower by Sandusky after the 2001 shower incident that Spanier and other top administrators handled.
Two of Spanier's former lieutenants, former university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley, struck plea deals on the eve of their trials to misdemeanor child endangerment and testified for the prosecution.
Spanier, Curley and Schultz all await sentencing, which has not been scheduled.
Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term but maintains he is innocent and is pursuing appeals. Spanier's lawyers have said he also plans to appeal.