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1Nov/12Off

Former Penn State President Faces Charges

If you are a witness to a crime and fail to report it, you could face serious criminal charges. The failure to report a crime doesn’t just hurt the victims, it also hurts society. More specifically, you could end up hurting yourself in the short run.

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier and two other former administrators were charged Thursday with perjury, obstruction of justice, and endangering children in connection with their handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno on the sideline during warmups prior to the 2006 Homecoming game versus the University of Illinois on Friday, October 20, 2006. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prosecutors said all three officials knew of complaints involving Sandusky, an assistant football coach, showering with boys in 1998 and 2001 and failed to take action to stop it.

Sandusky, 68, was convicted this summer of 45 criminal counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys. He was sentenced from 30 to 60 years in prison, but has maintained his innocence and is pursuing appeals.

On Wednesday, he was transferred to a prison in southwestern Pennsylvania that includes most of the state’s death row inmates.

The three administrators were accused of turning a blind eye to Sandusky’s “serial predatory acts” — some of which occurred at Penn State athletic facilities — by failing to notify police or even attempt to learn the identity of the victims.

Spanier is charged with five criminal counts, while former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz, who are already charged with perjury and failure to report child abuse, are facing new allegations of conspiracy, obstruction and endangering children.

The attorney general accused them of showing a “callous lack of concern” for the victims.

Curley and Schultz have repeatedly asserted they are innocent, and at a news conference this summer Spanier’s attorneys insisted he was never told there was anything of a sexual nature involving Sandusky and children.

Defense attorneys for the three administrators had no immediate comment Thursday on the latest charges. The defendants were scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Curley and Schultz are scheduled for trial in January on earlier perjury and failure to report charges.

Penn State spokesman David La Torre said Thursday that Spanier, who continued to serve as a tenured professor after he was fired as president in November, “will be placed on leave, effective immediately.”

The charges against the 64-year-old Spanier involve statements he made to a grand jury in 2011 in which he denied being aware of a university police investigation of Sandusky over a shower incident.

The charges stem in part from evidence uncovered in a report last summer by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who was tasked by the university to investigate the Sandusky case. Spanier and his attorney have denounced the Freeh report.

The report concluded that Spanier, Curley, Schultz and then-coach Joe Paterno concealed Sandusky’s activities from the university trustees and “empowered” the abuse by giving him access to school facilities and the prestige of his university affiliation.

It said the investigation turned up emails from 1998 in which the administrators discussed the matter, including a May 5 email from Curley to Schultz and Spanier, with “Joe Paterno” in the subject line. It read: “I have touched bases with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.”

Spanier told the Freeh team that he believed in 2001 that the encounter amounted to “horseplay,” although an email sent by him to Curley at that time reflected a much more somber tone.

In that email, Spanier was reacting to a proposal by Curley in which they would not report Sandusky to authorities but instead tell him he needed help and that he could no longer bring children into Penn State facilities.

Paterno was also fired in the wake of the scandal after 45 years as head coach. He died in January.

If a loved one was the victim of child abuse that could have been caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.