Jerry Sandusky’s horrific crimes against minors have caught up to those that enabled the convicted child molester’s two decade long victimization of children. State prosecutors charged Penn State’s former president with perjury and child endangerment, accusing him of overseeing a cover-up that allowed convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky to prey on nearly a dozen children over the years.
Calling it a “conspiracy of silence,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly accused former university president Graham Spanier and two other administration officials of “working to conceal the truth” and “an absolute disregard to the safety of minor children.”
“If these men had done what they were supposed to do…several young men would not have been attacked by a serial predator,” Kelly said, accusing the men of “turning a blind eye” and failing to alert authorities after they had been alerted of Sandusky’s activities in 1998 and again in 2001.
The New charges point out that these men “used their positions to conceal and cover up for years the activities of a known child predator.”
Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier – further convictions for obstruction of justice, conspiracy, endangering the welfare of children and failure to report allegations of child abuse.
The conspiracy charges will show that “(The three defendants) worked to actively conceal the truth with total disregard to the children who were victims in this case,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda L. Kelly told reporters Thursday.
The scandal, which erupted nearly a year ago, led to the firing of Spanier and longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, who died in January. Curley and Schultz had been charged with some of the counts – perjury and failure to report allegations of abuse – previously; both pleaded not guilty at the time.
Sandusky, the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in October.
Jurors determined that Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999, used his access to university facilities and his foundation for underprivileged youths to abuse the boys sexually. During the trial, a 23-year-old man identified as Victim No. 4 testified that he was 13 when Sandusky sexually abused him in a university shower.
Less than a month after Sandusky’s conviction, former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his university-funded report that said Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz took part in a cover-up to avoid bad publicity.
Attorneys for Spanier blasted the review, calling it a “blundering, indefensible indictment” and “a flat-out distortion of facts” that was “infused with bias and innuendo.”
Spanier told The New Yorker magazine’s Jeffrey Toobin in August that he had no recollection of e-mails he is accused of exchanging with top university officials over two specific allegations of abuse involving Sandusky: one in 1998 and another in 2001.
“I am aware, as I said in my letter to the board of trustees, that I was apparently copied on two e-mails,” Spanier told Toobin. “I didn’t reply to them. The first e-mail that I saw didn’t mention anybody’s name. It simply said something to the effect of ‘The employee will be interviewed tomorrow,’ something like that, no name mentioned. Then, about five weeks later, I think it was, I was copied on another e-mail that said, ‘The interview has been completed, the investigation has been completed, nothing was found, Jerry felt badly that the kid might have felt badly.'”
Spanier, Curley and Schultz are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Thursday, Kelly said.
Asked if Paterno would have faced the same charges if he were alive, Kelly said: “Mr. Paterno is deceased. The defendants charged in this case are Curley, Schultz and Spanier. I’m not going to speculate or comment on Mr. Paterno’s relationship to this investigation. Mr. Paterno is dead, and that’s the end of it.”
Prosecutors say Spanier knew about at least two incidents in which Sandusky was accused of abuse. One took place in 1998, when the mother of a boy known as Victim 6 reported her son had been attacked in a campus locker room.
In 2001, Spanier was copied on emails about another incident, witnessed by assistant coach Mike McQueary who heard sexual noises and saw an underage boy with Sandusky in the shower.
Kelly said emails among the three men indicated they knew of two incidents of alleged abuse on campus, failed to report them to law enforcement and sought to protect Sandusky.
In those emails Curley and Schultz proposed not alerting the authorities but instead letting Sandusky off with a warning and the promise that he would get “professional help,” according to the Freeh report.
Spanier agreed to that plan, the Freeh report said. However, he noted in an email that by not bringing the accusations to police they would be “vulnerable for not having reported it.”
McQueary first reported the incident to football head coach Joe Paterno.
Calls to Spanier’s lawyer John Riley were not immediately returned.