To date, the only high-ranking Penn State officials to face charges in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal were former Vice President Gary Schultz and soon-to-be former athletic director Tim Curley. If multiple reports Thursday morning turn out to be true, you can add one more important individual to that list.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported early Thursday morning that former PSU president Graham Spanier is expected to be formally hit with perjury and obstruction of justice charges today. Pennsylvania State Attorney General Linda Kelly is expected to make the announcement. There has been no comment from Spanier or his legal representation. Penn State is still paying Spanier’s legal costs.
NBC News was one of several outlets to confirm the story later this morning. If the reports turn out to be true, the charges will come almost one year exactly after the Grand Jury indictment of Sandusky was released, detailing graphic and horrifying acts of child-sex abuse spanning back to the 1990’s. Spanier, along with longtime coach Joe Paterno, was fired shortly thereafter.
Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator under Paterno, was found guilty on 45 counts of child-sex abuse over the summer and has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison. He has since been moved to a facility for death row inmates and is currently requesting a new trial.
Spanier was one of a handful of key Penn State officials mentioned in the Freeh report, which documented the university’s response to Sandusky’s actions. Spanier was originally planning to sue his former employer over access to emails from 1998-2004 in preparation for Freeh investigators, though that suit was later dropped. In an August interview with ABC Nightly News, Spanier pleaded ignorance to any knowledge of Sandusky’s pedophilia.
“I wish in hindsight I would have known more about Jerry Sandusky and his terrible, terrible hidden past so I could have intervened,” Spanier said. “I didn’t conjure up… anything more than throwing water or snapping towels… It’s not in my nature to go around thinking the worst in people.”
Spanier added that the Freeh report was biased and that emails exchanged among PSU admins were taken out of context.
Curley and Schultz are also facing perjury charges related to the case. Their trial is set to start this January.
Updated 11:45 p.m. ET: As expected, Spanier has been formally charged in his case. The former Penn State president faces eight charges in all. The felony charges include perjury, endangering welfare of children and conspiracy. All are third-degree felonies. Spanier’s misdemeanor charges include one count of obstruction of the administration of law, one count of conspiracy and one count of failure to report.
Here’s the LINK to the document containing Spanier’s charges.
Additionally, Schultz and Curley face additional charges, including felony obstruction, endangerment and conspiracy. Those charges are added to the perjury and failure to report a crime charges the two are already facing.