Former Pennsylvania State University President Graham Spanier faces criminal charges for allegedly taking actions to cover up the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, state Attorney General Linda Kelly said.
Spanier, who was fired by Penn State last year after Sandusky’s arrest, is charged with five counts including endangering the welfare of a child, Kelly said at a press conference today in Harrisburg, the state capital. Additional counts were also brought against two former university officials who had previously been charged, she said.
“This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials at Penn State,” Kelly said. “All three men deliberately engaged in a pattern of behavior that showed absolute disregard” for Sandusky’s victims.
The charges against Spanier, 64, come less than a month after Sandusky, 68, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison for sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky, who was convicted by jury in June on 45 criminal counts, committed some of his crimes in campus buildings or while he was employed by the school, according to prosecutors and victims.
Spanier is charged with one count of perjury, two counts of endangering the welfare of children and two counts of criminal conspiracy, all third-degree felonies punishable by as many as seven years in prison and $15,000 fines, prosecutors said today in a separate statement. Spanier is also charged with one count of obstructing the administration of law, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of failing to report suspected child abuse.
A July report commissioned by the university and prepared by Louis Freeh, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, placed Spanier at the center of a cover-up of Sandusky’s actions.
Freeh concluded that Spanier, former head football coach Joe Paterno and two other senior school officials hid critical facts surrounding Sandusky’s abuse. Spanier and Paterno were fired in November 2011. Paterno died in January.
Freeh’s seven-month investigation found that Paterno and Spanier concealed information surrounding Sandusky’s abuse in an attempt to avoid “bad publicity.”
In August, attorneys for Spanier publicly disputed the findings, calling the Freeh report a “blundering” indictment that distorted the facts and saying there was no evidence their client knew about reports of Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children.
Timothy Curley, a former Penn State athletic director, and Gary Schultz, an ex-vice president in charge of university police, are slated to go on trial in January on charges they lied to a grand jury about a 2001 sex-abuse allegation against Sandusky and failed to report the incident to authorities. Both have denied the charges. Kelly announced new charges against them today.
All three men are scheduled to appear for arraignment tomorrow in Harrisburg, Kelly said. All three should face a joint trial, Kelly said.
The case against Curley and Schultz is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Schultz, CP-22-CR-5164-2011, Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (Harrisburg).
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