Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Gary Schultz and Timothy Curley, the two Pennsylvania State University officials accused of lying in the Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse case, asked a judge to dismiss the perjury charge against them claiming it lacks specificity and can’t be corroborated.
State prosecutors have failed to establish sufficient evidence and haven’t provided details on the false statements allegedly made by the men, defense lawyers argued during a hearing today in state court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
“We need more specificity as to what we are defending against” Caroline Roberto, an attorney for Curley, told Commonwealth Judge Todd Hoover.
Schultz, a former vice president in charge of university police, and Curley, the athletics director at the time, are charged with lying to a grand jury about a 2001 sex-abuse allegation against Sandusky, a former football coach, and failing to report the incident to police. A judge ruled in December that there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
Sandusky, 68, who spent 31 seasons as a defensive assistant under Paterno, was convicted in June on 45 criminal counts tied to the abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period. He is awaiting sentencing.
Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer argued that the request from Curley and Schultz was premature. The state has provided details on the alleged false statements including seven instances in which Schultz claimed particulars on the 2001 allegation were turned over to child protective services and three instances in which Curley denied knowledge of an earlier investigation, Beemer said.
Sandusky’s arrest and indictment last year led to firings of university President Graham Spanier and coach Joe Paterno, who headed the football program at Penn State for 46 years. Paterno died in January.
Roberto argued that Paterno’s death makes proving the alleged false statements virtually impossible.
“Mr. Paterno’s grand jury testimony can’t be used at the trial; therefore that corroboration is gone,” Roberto argued.
With Paterno gone, there is no one else who could corroborate what Curley was told about the incident by Mike McQueary, a former assistant football coach who witnessed the alleged abuse.
McQueary testified in December that he told Curley and Schultz he had seen Sandusky with what appeared to be a 10-year-old boy in a football locker room shower in March 2002. That date was later amended to February 2001. McQueary testified that he described the incident as sexual.
Neither Curley nor Schultz reported the incident to law enforcement or attempted to learn the identity of the boy, identified in the grand jury report as Victim 2.
The men denied that McQueary told them about witnessing anal sex, according to the grand jury report. Curley testified McQueary told him about Sandusky “horsing around.” Schultz testified that McQueary reported “disturbing” or “inappropriate” conduct. He later conceded the report was of inappropriate sexual conduct, according to court documents.
Today’s hearing comes roughly a month after a report on Penn State’s handling of the Sandusky allegations faulted Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno with concealing critical facts in order to avoid bad publicity. The report, which concluded a seven-month investigation by Louis Freeh, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, said the men failed to take responsible action after the February 2001 incident although they all knew of an early allegation and investigation in 1998.
“The Freeh report has no evidentiary value,” Tom Farrell, an attorney for Schultz, said after the hearing. “We’re confident we’re going to win this case. We’re confident that we’re right as a matter of law.”
Hoover gave no indication when he would rule on the request. Arguments on tossing the second charge of failing to report the 2001 allegation were continued to allow attorneys more time to debate whether the statute of limitations has expired for that offense.
The case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Schultz, CP-22-CR-5164-2011, Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (Harrisburg).
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