Penn State Trustee Apologizes for Comment About Sandusky’s ‘So-Called Victims’

A Pennsylvania State University trustee, who recently said he was “running out of sympathy” for Jerry Sandusky’s sexual-abuse victims, gave a parsing and defiant apology on Monday.

Albert L. Lord’s comments about victims, which he made in an email to The Chronicle, provoked national outrage. In a statement provided to The Daily Collegian, Penn State’s student newspaper, Mr. Lord said, “I apologize for any pain the comment may have caused actual victims.”

Mr. Lord’s statement draws a distinction between “real victims and alleged victims,” who together have received legal settlements of nearly $93 million from the university in connection with the Sandusky abuse scandal. Mr. Sandusky, a former Nittany Lions assistant football coach, is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years related to the sexual abuse of 10 boys.

“Though quoted accurately it was too flippant and caustic; the comment conflates many deeply held sentiments in a sentence too short to reflect accurately my views about victims in this case,” wrote Mr. Lord, a former chief executive of Sallie Mae, the student-loan company. “This quote was directed specifically at ‘so-called victims.’ It was certainly not intended to offend real victims.”

Mr. Lord is a strong supporter of Graham B. Spanier, a former president of Pennsylvania State University, who was convicted last month on a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of children in connection with the Sandusky scandal. In an email exchange with a Chronicle reporter after the trial, Mr. Lord said he was “running out sympathy for 35 yr old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth.”

In a subsequent interview with the reporter, Mr. Lord expanded on his remarks. But he declined an opportunity to apologize for them at that time.

In his statement to The Collegian, Mr. Lord appeared to blast the university’s administration, which has publicly stated that Mr. Spanier and his lieutenants fell short of Penn State’s high standards of conduct. Just before Mr. Spanier’s trial, Timothy M. Curley, Penn State’s former athletics director, and Gary C. Schultz, a former senior vice president for finance and business, both took misdemeanor-level plea deals rather than face the serious charges that Mr. Spanier battled in court. Mr. Lord and others have also criticized the university for its treatment of the late Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach, whose statue was removed from public view in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.

“I will note that from this verdict emerged a ‘new’ Penn State — a Penn State determined to consign four honest and honorable men to its politically correct trash heap,” wrote Mr. Lord, who is running for re-election to the university’s board. “The new Penn State is not the Penn State of loyalty and courage where I received the degree which gave me my start in life 50 years ago.”

Return to Top