Ex-Penn State President Spanier Sues School Over E-Mails

Former Pennsylvania State University President Graham Spanier sued the school for access to e-mails from 1998 through 2004 that he claims are relevant to an internal probe sparked by allegations of sexual abuse against Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State has refused to grant Spanier access, citing a request from Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly’s office, according to the complaint filed in state court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. The complaint was made public yesterday on the court’s website along with other filings, including a response from the university. A hearing in the case is set for Aug. 17.

Sandusky, 68, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted last month on 45 criminal counts tied to abuse of boys over a 15-year period. The results of a special investigation into the school’s handling of the scandal by Louis Freeh, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, is scheduled to be released tomorrow.

Spanier believes “that access to these e-mails would refresh his recollection significantly and allow him to assist the university fully in its investigation,” according to the complaint.

In its response, Penn State said that the case is without legal merit and should be dismissed. Spanier’s request is an attack on the attorney general’s directive not to disclose the e-mails it obtained during the probe, Penn State said.

Spanier, appointed president of the university in State College, Pennsylvania, in 1995, was formerly chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Spanier, a sociologist and marriage and family therapist, was fired in November along with football coach Joe Paterno amid allegations that school officials were aware of Sandusky’s conduct as early as 1998.

The case is Spanier v. The Pennsylvania State University, 2012-2065, Court of Common Pleas of Centre County Pennsylvania (Bellefonte).

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