Criminal Justice

Ex-Penn State Prez Faces Perjury, Obstruction, Child-Endangerment Case re Sandusky's Child Sex Abuse

Graham Spanier, former Penn State president. Richard Paul

Saying that the ousted president of Pennsylvania State University headed a “conspiracy of silence” that enabled a longtime assistant football coach at the school to sexually abuse boys for more than a decade, the Pennsylvania attorney general announced Thursday that Graham Spanier is being criminally charged.

If convicted of all the perjury, obstruction, child-endangerment and conspiracy charges he now faces, Spanier, 64, could be sentenced to as much as 39 years in prison, according to the Associated Press and the Citizens Voice.

Attorney General Linda Kelly also announced at a Harrisburg press conference today that new counts have been filed against two other former Penn State officials who were previously criminally charged: on-leave athletic director Timothy M. Curley and retired university vice president Gary C. Schultz.

“This was not a mistake. This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials at Penn State,” said Kelly, who contended that the three defendants “essentially turned a blind eye to the serial predatory acts committed by Jerry Sandusky on the Penn State campus.”

Another Associated Press article lists the charges against the three men. A hearing is expected to be held Friday in the suburban Harrisburg case.

All three defendants have asserted their innocence, the AP notes, and Spanier’s lawyers have said a report commissioned by the university from former FBI Director Louis Freeh that harshly criticizes Penn State officials is not accurate. They say Spanier was never told Sandusky was involved in any sexual behavior with children.

Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 of the 48 counts he faced in a child sex-abuse case and sentenced last month to a 30- to 60-year prison term.

Penn State was fined $60 million, among other sanctions, by the National College Athletic Association for its handling of the Sandusky case and retained big-case resolution veteran Ken Feinberg to try to reach speedy civil settlements with Sandusky’s victims.

Fox News and the New York Times (reg. req.) also have stories about today’s new charges.

Related coverage: “Merck CEO to Investigate Penn State Football Scandal; Ex-Coach Paterno Hires King & Spalding Leader” “Freeh’s Scathing Report an Unusual ‘Road Map’ to Litigation Against Penn State, Lawyers Say” “Penn State Officials Reportedly Discussed ‘Humane Approach’ of Keeping Silent on Sandusky” “Former Penn State President Claims Ex-GC Didn’t Seek Outside Advice or Prepare Him for Grand Jury”

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