Former Penn State President Indicted In Child Abuse Scandal

Former Penn State President Graham B. Spanier has become the latest and highest ranking former university official to be charged in the scandal involving child molestation by former coach Jerry Sandusky. He is the third school official to be accused of crimes in the alleged cover-up. We have previously discussed the case as a pile up of bad legal advice and horrendously bad judgment by the university president and his general counsel.

In addition to charging Spanier with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children and conspiracy, prosecutors added charges against Timothy M. Curley and Gary C. Schultz, who were already charged with lying to the grand jury that investigated the former Penn State assistant football coach. They will now also face charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.

Notably, Schultz maintained a Sandusky file in his office and told his secretary never to look at it.

Spanier has long blamed his subordinates, including his general counsel, and insisted that he was uninformed of the serious allegations involving Sandusky and children. Prosecutors insist that that is a lie and that he knew of the allegations. This included a 1988 lawsuit by the mother of one of the victims which was the subject of emails. In one email, Spanier responded to a proposal by Curley in which they would not report Sandusky to authorities but instead tell him to seek help and not bring children into Penn State facilities. Spanier responded “The only downside for us is if the message isn’t `heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed.” I fail to see how humane it is to leave a pedophile unreported. Putting that aside, it is certainly not the most lawful “way to proceed,” as indicated by these charges.

Spanier will be in court today to answer the charges.

Source: USA Today

19 thoughts on “Former Penn State President Indicted In Child Abuse Scandal”

  1. While rumors abounded that something could happen around November, the timing of the charges, just before an election, is beyond suspicious, especially since the does not appear to be any significant new “evidence” since the release of the highly suspect Freeh Report. It should be noted that some information was dressed up by AG Linda Kelly to seem like it was new (like the “secret Sandusky file” that Gary Schultz allegedly kept but which he himself turned over to the AG office when he realized they might be relevant) but really was not.

    In short, these indictments have all of the same markings (suspicious timing, manipulation of testimony/evidence, false presumptions) of the original indictments almost a year ago. There is also similar evidence of prosecutorial intimidation as, much like they may have done with Mike McQueary, it appears very much that former PSU legal counsel Cynthia Baldwin was “convinced” to “flip” on those whom she led the into the lions den of the Sandusky grand jury. How ironic and maddening that Mike McQueary and Cynthia Baldwin, two of the people who may very well have been the most incompetent (or maybe even much worse) in this entire affair are the two people whom the AG office has protected the most.

    The charges against Spanier appear to be the most absurd filed so far as, in many ways, they are inherently contradicted by the prosecution’s own theory of the case. Since Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are presumed to have lied about all of this, why wouldn’t they have also lied to Spanier? Forgetting for a moment why they would even have gone to Spanier in the first place, why would they, under the very worst interpretation of the facts, have told him the “truth”? Quite simply, If the prosecution is right about Curley and Schultz lying, then Spanier is guiltless and he certainly could never be convicted in a court of law.

    By far the most bizarre moment of the the AG’s press conference today was when Kelly claimed that PSU officials knew that Victim 6 was “assaulted” in their locker room by Sandusky and that they should somehow be held responsible for this. First of all, Victim 6 was not “assualted.” Sandusky brushed up against him in a shower. Obviously this was highly inappropriate and, in retrospect was a moment when the monster could have been stopped, but it was not an “assualt.” More importantly, Kelly seems to forget that several state law enforcement agencies decided that Sandusky had done nothing criminal and was not a pedophile!

    Every school administrator in the country should be outraged and frightened by the insane precedent that was set today, but no one in academia will have the guts to stand up and say that.

    To be clear, Spanier is being charged with perjury and other offenses based largely on the notion that one person (Mike McQueary) who couldn’t correctly remember the month or year of the episode and with whom he didn’t meet, contradicts his ten year old recollection of what he was told by two other people who back up his story. And, oh by the way, by the prosecution’s own theory of the case,THERE IS NO ACTUAL VICTIM who has come forward to say that they were the child that Spanier, Curley and Schultz allegedly endangered!

    This all smacks of desperation on the part of the outgoing Attorney General. She has to know her case is failing apart so now she is doubling down in an effort to poison the jury pool and put pressure (or at least blame) on the next Attorney General when the these cases inevitably are shown to be without legal merit. It is also clear from the comments of the head of the state police that these indictments are intended t cast blame on Penn State for the Sandusky investigation taking so long, something the governor, who began the investigation as AG, clearly has a self interest in doing.

    The bottom line is that while in the short run this will harm the perception of our side of this debate (and will cause more unfair hardship on those wrongly accused), in the long run it may actually help the ultimate goal of finding the real truth of this matter. It is certainly not going to come from Linda Kelly

  2. misprision of felony is seldom prosecuted as a stand alone offense which encourages cover ups because there are risks to reporting but not generally risks to coverups.

  3. anonymously posted 1, November 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

    “I was only following orders.” -Dredd

    We’ll be hearing that from many Americans some day. Too many are willing to comply with the orders, suggestions, etc. of those in a position of power.

    “Notably, Schultz maintained a Sandusky file in his office and told his secretary never to look at it.”

    I wonder if she looked.
    Could be, could be, and could be.

  4. The DA you may be talking about disappeared some time ago:

    Questions on Sandusky Are Wrapped in a 2005 Mystery
    Published: November 8, 2011

    One of the questions surrounding the sex-abuse case against Jerry Sandusky is why a former district attorney chose not to prosecute the then-Penn State assistant coach in 1998 after reports surfaced that he had inappropriate interactions with a boy.

    The answer is unknowable because of an unsolved mystery: What happened to Ray Gricar, the Centre County, Pa., district attorney?

    Gricar went missing in April 2005. The murky circumstances surrounding his disappearance — an abandoned car, a laptop recovered months later in a river without a hard drive, his body was never found — have spawned Web sites, television programs and conspiracy theories. More than six years later, the police still receive tips and reports of sightings. The police in central Pennsylvania continue to investigate even though Gricar’s daughter, Lara, successfully petitioned in July to have her father declared legally dead so the family could find some closure and begin dividing his estate.

    Yet as the Sandusky investigation moves forward, questions will be asked anew about why Gricar did not pursue charges against him 13 years ago. A small but strident minority believes Gricar did not want to tackle a case that involved a hometown icon. Others who knew and worked with Gricar say he was a meticulous, independent and tough-minded prosecutor who was unbowed by Penn State, its football program and political pressure in general.

    “No one got a bye with Ray,” said Anthony De Boef, who worked as an assistant district attorney under Gricar for five years. “He didn’t care who you were; he had a job to do.”

    De Boef said Gricar did not share any information with him about the case in 1998, which involved Sandusky allegedly showering with an 11-year-old boy. Gricar, he said, reviewed the police reports in private including, presumably, notes or recordings of two conversations that the police heard between Sandusky and the boy’s mother. But Gricar had a reputation for thoroughness, and if he thought he had enough to charge Sandusky, he would have, De Boef and other lawyers said.

    Still, the circumstances surrounding Gricar’s disappearance prompt many questions.

    On April 15, 2005, Gricar, then 59, took the day off. At about 11:30 a.m., he called his girlfriend, Patricia Fornicola, to say he was taking a drive on Route 192. About 12 hours later, she reported him missing.

    The next day, Gricar’s Mini Cooper was found in a parking lot in Lewisburg, about 50 miles from his home in Bellefonte. Gricar’s cellphone was in the car, but not his laptop, wallet or keys, which were never recovered. Months later, the laptop was found in the Susquehanna River without its hard drive, which was discovered later. It was too damaged to yield any information. On the fourth anniversary of his disappearance, investigators revealed that a search of his home computer yielded a history of Internet searches for phrases like “how to wreck a hard drive,” according to a report at the time in The Centre Daily Times.

  5. The little people must be sacred to the big ones, and it is from the rights of the weak that the duty of the strong is comprised. (Victor Hugo)

    Some in the palaces of leadership at Penn State — like the Bourbon kings of old — ignored this irremeable law of duty as they had so many other things. They should not be surprised by the magnitude of the reckoning.

    For this “magician” the trick may be over


    Op-Ed Contributor

    Don’t Get Found Out


    Published: November 1, 2012

    I WAS out walking with my parents recently when my father said, “I suppose we used to watch ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ as a family, didn’t we?”

    It was a domestic confession many British people have been making over the past few weeks. “Jim’ll Fix It” was one of those early evening BBC shows that millions of families watched in the 1970s, when there were only three channels in Britain: BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. Children would write in with their humble ’70s longings — “I want to work in the elephant house,” “I want to fly a plane” — and the BBC would arrange and film the fulfillment of their dreams. We would see the children, awed, monosyllabic, sitting with the host, Jimmy Savile, who would jolly them through their story before hanging a medal round their necks engraved with the legend “Jim Fixed It for Me.”

    It now appears that some of those children found themselves afterward in the host’s dressing room, being persuaded or forced into sexual acts. Mr. Savile, who died a year ago at 84, is suspected of sexually abusing hundreds of people, mainly girls and young women, many of them patients or residents at the hospitals and care homes he patronized through energetic fund-raising work.

    Three of the remaining publicly owned British institutions not yet sold off to the private sector — the National Health Service, the police and the BBC — stand accused of turning a blind eye to his crimes. The BBC canceled an investigation into Mr. Savile’s sexual predation.

    I don’t remember anyone in the ’70s — or ever — really being fond of Mr. Savile. In trying to be forever young he came across as forever old, a gaunt, haunted imp with a pageboy cut, lurid tracksuits and a twitching cigar. At times it seemed the national creeping out was palpable, and I’d like to say that we, the viewing public, had our suspicions. But we stuck with rumors and dark jokes, through almost 20 years of “Jim’ll Fix It” and 42 of his co-hosting the prime-time BBC show “Top of the Pops.”

    The Savile storm finally broke last month, when I was in the United States promoting my new novel, and it wasn’t until I started getting messages along the troubling lines of “Jimmy Savile — well done!” that it occurred to me that people might think there was something prescient in the portrayal of Ritchie, one of the book’s central characters.

    Ritchie, a middle-aged former rock star who has become the producer of the BBC reality TV show “Teen Makeover,” is secretly having sex with a 15-year-old girl from the audience. All those working with Ritchie know there’s something wrong but try to convince themselves that he’s having an affair with an adult, so they don’t have to face the institutionally terrifying truth.

    Mr. Savile, too, cultivated the image of a free-spirited sexual scamp, somewhere between Don Juan and naughty shepherd lad. Once, when interviewed on the BBC’s satirical quiz show “Have I Got News for You,” he was asked about the years he spent living in a mobile home, and what he did there. “Anybody I can lay me hands on,” he quipped. The screenwriter Graham Linehan called this “a smokescreen comprised of the truth.” It let those in senior positions in the BBC and the N.H.S. imagine that the rumors they were ignoring related to adult women yielding to sexual pressure from Mr. Savile — bad, but not criminal — rather than the abuse of powerless children.

    In Mr. Savile’s astoundingly frank 1976 autobiography, he described how he and another man had spent the night with six girls young enough for their mothers to come looking for them. “To date, we have not been found out,” he wrote. “Which, after all, is the 11th commandment, is it not?”

    Don’t get found out. It’s the idea that you’re not doing anything wrong as long as the only people who know what you’re doing are you, the person you’re doing it to, and the people you’re doing it with. The defenses against this 11th commandment are, on one hand, the fixed, eternal rules of religion and tradition, like the original 10 commandments; and, on the other, finder-outers like the media and the police, supposed to uncover what powerful people want hidden. In Britain, in the wake of the church’s sexual abuse scandals and the tabloid phone-tapping affair, neither bulwark looks credible.

    The BBC is to be subject to two separate inquiries over the Savile affair. Increasingly, British public life seems to be a dismal march from scandal to inquiry to report to the next scandal. Complacency will be condemned, procedures will be tightened, but the deeper human flaw will be ignored. How can those who follow no commandment but the 11th be made to believe that when you do something wrong, it’s just as wrong when it’s a secret as it is when everybody knows?

    James Meek is the author, most recently, of the novel “The Heart Broke In.”

  7. PSmith, If you follow history it’s often the “intelligent” who think they’re smart enough to pull coverups off w/o being caught. Combine “itelligence” w/ arrogance and you have a Shakespearean character.

  8. One would think that people in these situations would learn that covering up only makes it worse. There are so many examples of coverups – not just paedophilia, but murders, rapes, thefts, etc. – where the perpetrators eventually got caught and those who helped hide it suffered the consequences.

    But no, they’re only worried about their careers, about protecting their own fortune and positions. They’re stupid and selfish enough to be unwilling to deal with a small problem that they’d rather let it fester until it explodes, like allowing a scratch to become a full body infection. They’re dumb enough to hope they can retire and let it be someone else’s problem before it happens.

    But it really doesn’t surprise. If I knew someone had done something atrocious (e.g. a male family member had raped a woman), I wouldn’t have any hesitation in turning that person to face prison time. And when I’ve said that before in other forums, I’ve actually had idiots who respond by saying, “What sort of jerk wouldn’t protect his relatives?” as if the victim weren’t important.

  9. He deserves some prison time as did Paterno and maybe a couple others. Sandusky will be the only one doing time on this. The powerful take care of their own. There are a DA office and some cops who should be charged but that ain’t gonna happen either.

  10. “I was only following orders.” -Dredd

    We’ll be hearing that from many Americans some day. Too many are willing to comply with the orders, suggestions, etc. of those in a position of power.

    “Notably, Schultz maintained a Sandusky file in his office and told his secretary never to look at it.”

    I wonder if she looked.

  11. How’s that coverup working out for you fellas?

    Did you get some on you?

    I’m all busted up over your misfortune for daring to cover for a pedophile.

    Now if you’ll pardon me, I need to find a crocodile to squeeze a few tears from.

  12. Spanier has long blamed his subordinates, including his general counsel, and insisted that he was uninformed of the serious allegations involving Sandusky and children.”

    He seems to be in some post Nuremberg hazy world where both classes claim the other class is responsible.

    “I was only following orders …”, “they followed my wrong orders”, and “my subordinates did not do my job for me” are part of either a new type of dysfunctional thinking, or a resurgence of old dementia.

  13. Spanier, ironically, has a background doing research on families and couples and is the developer of a common measure of marital couples’ functioning. He’s used that background as a defense (how could someone exposed to abuse as a child and a family researcher do…). I tend not to buy it. Universities are big lumbering bureaucracies and dominated by self-protective guilds. I tend not to give him benefit of the doubt–most likely, hither he purposely evaded involvement in the issues to cover his ass or he’s lying. If nothing else he should fall on his sword for something so fatal to the university’s cred that happened on his watch.

Comments are closed.