Penn State Officials Must Face Perjury Trial

Saturday, 17 Dec 2011 07:34 AM

 

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Pennsylvania State University’s athletic director and a former school vice president were ordered to stand trial on charges of lying about a 2002 sex- abuse allegation against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Magisterial District Judge William Wenner in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, yesterday said Athletic Director Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz, the former vice president, will face trial for perjury and failing to report that a member of the football program told them he saw Sandusky molesting a boy.

“The task that was at hand yesterday was to present enough evidence to show the court that the charges should be held,” Senior Deputy Attorney General Marc Costanzo said after the ruling. “We’re not surprised by that.”

Curley and Schultz, who remain free on $75,000 unsecured bail, denied the charges, which stem from their grand jury testimony. They face formal arraignment on Jan. 19, according to court records. They face as long as seven years in prison if convicted of perjury.

Wenner ruled after hearing testimony from Penn State assistant football coach, Mike McQueary, and from the former chief of the campus police and McQueary’s father. The grand jury testimony of Joe Paterno, Penn State’s former head football coach, was also read into the record.

McQueary testified yesterday that he told Curley and Schultz he had seen Sandusky with what appeared to be a 10-year- old boy in a locker room shower in March 2002.

Boy in Shower

McQueary said he had gone to a football building on the Penn State campus to fetch some video tapes. When he got there, he first heard “rhythmic slapping sounds” and then the sound of showers running. Then he saw Sandusky standing directly behind a boy in the shower. They were both naked and Sandusky had his arms around the boy at about waist level, McQueary said.

“There is no question in my mind that I conveyed to them that I saw Jerry with a boy in the showers and that it was severe sexual acts going on and that it was wrong and over the line,” McQueary, 37, told the court yesterday.

Neither Curley nor Schultz, who oversaw university police, reported the incident to law enforcement or attempted to learn the identity of the boy, identified in the grand jury report as Victim 2.

Curley, 57, and Schultz, 62, denied that McQueary told them about witnessing anal sex, according to the grand jury report. Curley testified to the grand jury in January that McQueary told him about Sandusky “horsing around.”

‘Disturbing’

Schultz testified that McQueary reported “disturbing” or “inappropriate” conduct. Schultz was initially unsure about what he remembered McQueary told him and later conceded the report was of inappropriate sexual conduct, according to court documents.

Sandusky, 67, has been charged with more than 40 counts stemming from the alleged sexual abuse of 10 boys. He waived his preliminary hearing this week and prosecutors said his case will proceed to trial. Sandusky, under home confinement on $250,000 bail, denies the charges.

Caroline Roberto, Curley’s lawyer, said her client will be acquitted at trial.

“The question will be whether Mike McQueary has the credibility to overcome the perjury high level of proof that is necessary,” she said at a press conference after yesterday’s hearing. Curley “testified consistently with his character,” she said. “He told the truth”

McQueary’s Actions

Tom Farrell, Schultz’s lawyer, said McQueary’s actions after witnessing the alleged incident speak louder than his testimony.

“Mike McQueary didn’t call the police. He went home and consulted with his dad and a trusted adviser who also didn’t call police,” Farrell said. McQueary’s actions and his father’s testimony yesterday point to “some vague allegation of inappropriate conduct,” and not the graphic incident the assistant coach testified to this morning, Farrell said.

McQueary, a graduate assistant at the time of the alleged incident, testified that he called his father, who then told him to talk to Paterno, whom Sandusky worked under for 30 years.

McQueary testified that he went to Paterno’s home to report what he had seen. He said he made it clear to Paterno that what he saw was sexual in nature, while not detailing the act explicitly or using the words “sodomy” or “anal intercourse.”

Paterno Testimony

Paterno, 84, testified for seven minutes before the grand jury in January. He said McQueary called him on a Saturday morning to report the incident with Sandusky, according to a transcript of his testimony that prosecutors read into the record in Harrisburg yesterday.

“I don’t know what you would call it. Obviously, he was doing something with the youngster it was of a sexual nature. I didn’t know exactly what it was,” Paterno said, according to the transcript. “I didn’t push Mike any further because I knew he was upset.”

Paterno said he reported within the week to Curley.

“I called him and said, ‘Hey we got a problem.’ and I explained the problem to him,” Paterno testified.

Curley told the grand jury that Paterno called a meeting with him and Schultz at his home on the Sunday after the incident. Paterno told him an assistant had reported seeing two people in the shower and he was uncomfortable with the activity in the shower area, according to a transcript of Curley’s testimony read during yesterday’s hearing.

Meeting With McQueary

Curley said he met with McQueary within a week to hear his version of the events.

“I can’t remember specifically how Mike described it. My recollection was they were kind of wrestling, there was body contact and they were horsing around,” the athletic director testified, according to the transcript. “I don’t remember any report to me that it was sexual in nature. It was inappropriate behavior.”

Curley said he didn’t think the behavior was criminal at the time. He spoke to Sandusky about it before reporting it to the Second Mile, a charity Sandusky founded for needy children in 1977.

Schultz, who testified before the grand jury the same day as Paterno and Curley, said his impression at the time was that the behavior was inappropriate, not criminal.

‘Wrestling-Around Activity’

“My recollection was that Mike and Joe both described what was observed in a very general way. I had the impression that it was inappropriate. I had the feeling that there was some kind of wrestling-around activity and that Jerry may have grabbed the boys genitals or something like that,” Schultz testified, according to a transcript read in court.

He testified that he never attempted to determine the identity or age of the child even though he was aware of a similar incident involving Sandusky and a boy in a campus shower in 1998. Schultz said his impression of Sandusky was of someone who would “regularly wrestle people” as part of his “common clowning around thing.”

Schultz retired from the university Nov. 6, the day after charges against him, Curley and Sandusky were announced. Curley requested administrative leave so he could defend himself against the charges.

The case against Sandusky led to the firings of university President Graham Spanier and Paterno, who coached football at Penn State for 46 years and won 409 games, the most among major- college coaches.

‘Crude Words’

Costanzo dismissed defense arguments that McQueary minimized what he told Paterno and what was later told to the Penn State officials.

“McQueary said there were certain crude words in the English language he wouldn’t use to describe the incident to Coach Paterno out of respect,” Costanzo said. Still, McQueary was clear about what he saw, Costanzo said.

Prosecutors still don’t know the identity of the boy in the shower and another alleged victim in the case, Costanzo said.

Sandusky’s lawyer Joseph Amendola didn’t attend yesterday’s hearing and declined to comment on the outcome.

The cases are Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Curley, MJ12303-cr-0000353-2011, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Schultz, MJ12303-cr-0000354-2011, Magisterial District Judge 12- 3-03, Dauphin County (Harrisburg).


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