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Former Penn State President Spanier charged in Sandusky case

Graham Spanier is charged with attempting to cover up child sex abuse allegations against former football coach Jerry Sandusky. Two other former administrators face new charges.

November 01, 2012|By John L. Micek and Peter Hall, Morning Call
  • Pennsylvania state Police Commissioner Frank Noonan speaks at a Harrisburg news conference about the charges against three former Penn State administrators. With him is state Atty. Gen. Linda Kelly.
Pennsylvania state Police Commissioner Frank Noonan speaks at a Harrisburg… (Christopher Weddle, Center…)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — When it really counted, three top leaders at Penn State University engaged in a "conspiracy of silence" to cover up child sexual abuse allegations against retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, says Pennsylvania Atty. Gen. Linda Kelly.

Kelly announced Thursday what some in the Penn State community had expected for months: that former university President Graham Spanier had been charged in the Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

"This was not a mistake. This was not an oversight. This was not misjudgment," Kelly said during a news conference at the state Capitol. "This was a conspiracy of silence."

Spanier, 64, was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy, according to court documents. In addition, university Athletic Director Tim Curley, 58, and former administrator Gary Schultz, 63, face new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.

Curley and Schultz have both maintained their innocence. And at a news conference this summer, Spanier's attorneys said the former president was never told that there was anything of a sexual nature between Sandusky and his victims.

But at Thursday's news conference, Kelly said the three men had discussed "in great detail" incidents in 1998 and 2001 involving Sandusky, including a shower assault witnessed by former graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary.

"The investigation has established that all three administrators were informed of both of these incidents and had knowledge of Sandusky's assaults as early as the 1998 incident," Kelly said.

Kelly said the grand jury investigating Sandusky's crimes issued a subpoena in December 2010 seeking pertinent information and emails, but they were not turned over to investigators until April 2012 — long after all three men had left their jobs.

Spanier was forced out after 16 years as Penn State's president shortly after Sandusky's November 2011 arrest. Longtime football Coach Joe Paterno was fired by the university's Board of Trustees at the same time, and died in January.

The actions Spanier, Schultz and Curley are accused of taking made up the bulk of a report by former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh that concluded the administrators and Paterno concealed Sandusky's crimes from university trustees and continued to give him access to school facilities.

Sandusky was convicted of molesting 10 boys, and in October the 68-year-old former coach was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in state prison.

On Thursday, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan was corrosive in his criticism of the three men. Reading over the grand jury presentment against them, he said, "you'll see concerns expressed by these three men: concerns for themselves, concerns for the university and even concerns for Jerry Sandusky.... The one thing you will find lacking is any concern for the victims."

An arraignment for the three men has been scheduled for Friday.

Curley is on leave from his post as Penn State's athletic director. Schultz retired a year ago as the university's vice president for business and finance. Both were charged last November with lying to a grand jury investigating allegations against Sandusky, and for failing to report suspected child abuse. Their trial is set to begin in January in Harrisburg.

john.micek@mcall.com

peter.hall@mcall.com

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