Two former officials of Pennsylvania State University must face perjury charges arising from the case against Jerry Sandusky, the ex-football coach convicted of abusing boys, a judge ruled.
Gary Schultz, a former vice president in charge of university police, and Timothy Curley, an athletics director at the time, are to go on trial in January on charges they lied to a grand jury about a 2001 sex-abuse allegation against Sandusky and failed to report it. Lawyers for the men sought to dismiss the perjury charge claiming it lacked specificity and couldn’t be corroborated. Commonwealth Judge Todd Hoover in Harrisburg disagreed in a ruling yesterday.
“The dismissal is not warranted based upon the alleged unavailability of corroboration evidence,” Hoover said. “We deem defendant’s challenge to the existence or availability of corroboration evidence to be more appropriately asserted at the time of trial.”
Caroline Roberto, an attorney for Curley, said the ruling “is not unexpected” given Hoover’s questions during a hearing last month.
“We continue to prepare our vigorous defense for trial,” Roberto said today in an e-mailed statement.
Sandusky, 68, who spent 31 seasons as a defensive assistant coach under Joe Paterno, was convicted in June on 45 criminal counts tied to the abuse of boys over a 15-year period. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Curley and Schultz are accused of lying about what they were told by a former assistant football coach regarding an incident involving Sandusky and what appeared to be a 10-year-old boy in a football locker room shower. Mike McQueary, the former assistant coach who was a graduate assistant at the time of the incident, testified at a preliminary hearing for the men in December that he told them he witnessed the incident and described it as sexual.
Both men denied McQueary’s account. Prosecutors used Paterno’s grand jury testimony at the December hearing to bolster McQueary’s statements. Paterno, who died in January, testified last year that he reported what McQueary had told him about the incident to Curley. A transcript of Paterno’s seven-minute testimony was read into the record at the December hearing. A judge ruled at the time that there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
Schultz and Curley argued at a hearing last month that Paterno’s death made proving the alleged false statements impossible.
The unavailability of Paterno doesn’t negate the judge’s finding that the evidence was legally sufficient to establish a case against the men, Hoover said.
He also denied a request for more specifics on the charges, ruling that prosecutors had responded with “sufficient specificity” as to what they will seek to prove at trial.
The case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Schultz, CP-22-CR-5164-2011, Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (Harrisburg).