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Ex-Penn State president charged in Sandusky scandal

1:40 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier in 2007. (Getty Images)
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(USA Today) -- 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.

"This is about three powerful and influential men, three men who used their positions at Penn State to cover-up and conceal the activities of (Sandusky),'' said Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly in announcing the charges.

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.

Prosecutors said all three knew of complaints involving Sandusky showering with boys in 1998 and 2001.

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 Associated Press reported.

The attorney general accused the three university of administrators of showing "callous lack of concern" for one of Sandusky's early victims by allegedly not pursuing the case or attempting to identify the young boy.

"They essentially turned a blind eye to the serial predatory acts committed by Jerry Sandusky," Kelly said.

"This was not a mistake by these men, this was not an oversight, it was not misjudgment on their part," she said. "This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials to actively conceal the truth."

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.

Spanier, 64, was fired in November after serving 16 years as the university's president.

The charges against 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 incidents involving Sandusky.

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 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.

"The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier wrote in 2001. "The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed."

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

(USA Today)

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