Three former Pennsylvania State University officials were ordered to stand trial on charges they conspired to cover up allegations of sex abuse against ex-football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Magisterial District Judge William Wenner in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, today ordered former President Graham Spanier, 65, ex-Athletic Director Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz, a retired vice president in charge of university police, to face trial on charges including endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy and perjury.
The men allegedly kept silent on abuse claims against Sandusky, including an eyewitness account of a 2001 incident. A formal arraignment is set for Sept. 20, according to court records.
“It’s a tragic day for Penn State,” Wenner said before ruling to hold all charges against the men for trial.
Wenner’s decision came on the second day of a hearing that featured testimony from witnesses including former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, two secretaries for Schultz, the school’s communications director and computer forensic specialists. The April 2011 grand jury testimony of Spanier was also read into the court record.
McQueary testified yesterday that he told Curley and Schultz he had seen Sandusky with what appeared to be a 10-year-old boy in a locker room shower in February 2001. Both were naked and Sandusky had his arms around the boy at waist level, McQueary said. McQueary said he definitely conveyed to them that the incident appeared to be sexual in nature.
Neither Curley, 59, nor Schultz, 63, reported the incident to law enforcement or attempted to learn the identity of the boy, identified in a grand jury report as Victim 2. In grand jury testimony in 2011, Curley, Spanier and Schultz all denied that the incident was sexual and said it was described to them as “horseplay.” Spanier denied knowledge of an earlier allegation in 1998, when Sandusky was accused of touching another boy inappropriately in a shower.
“This was not a trial. This was a preliminary hearing,” Timothy K. Lewis, an attorney for Spanier said after the ruling. “We maintain that Dr. Spanier is innocent of all charges against him.”
Tom Farrell, an attorney for Schultz, said a trial could come as early as March.
“We’ll make our arguments then,” Farrell said, adding that e-mails in the case weren’t consistent with what McQueary reported.
McQueary’s testimony changes every time he testifies, Caroline Roberto, an attorney for Curley, said.
McQueary testified during a December 2011 preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz on initial charges of perjury and failing to report child abuse. Yesterday, in addition to repeating his account of the 2001 abuse incident, McQueary added that late head football coach Joe Paterno criticized the school, saying it “screwed up” the Sandusky probe.
“I was stunned when I heard his testimony relating to Mr. Paterno,” Roberto said. Paterno died in January 2012 so there are no witnesses, she said.
The cases are Pennsylvania v. Spanier, 12303-CR-0000419-2012, Magisterial District Judge 12-3-03; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Curley, CP-22-MD-1385-2012, Common Pleas Court of Dauphin County; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Schultz, CP-22-MD-1386-2012, Common Pleas Court of Dauphin County (Harrisburg).