Graham Spanier

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Former Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz plead guilty to child endangerment charges

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Two Penn State officials tied to the Jerry Sandusky scandal have pleaded guilty to charges of child endangerment on Monday. Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz entered their pleas to a judge with an agreement to potentially testify against former Penn State president Graham Spanier next week, according to a report from Penn Live.

Curley and Schultz face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 for their misdemeanor charge. The charges are tied to each man’s connection to the failure to report an incident witnessed by former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary (Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in the showers of the Penn State football building) and reported to former head football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno reported the information to Curley, his supervisor, and Curley and Schultz never reported the incident to the authorities.

Sentencing for Curley and Schultz is expected to take place within the next 90 days.

Sandusky, the former Penn state defensive coordinator, was found guilty on 45 of 48 charges related to sexually abuse of minors from 1994 through 2009. He is currently serving a sentence of up to 60 years, effectively a life sentence for the 73-year old. A request by Sandusky for a new trial has been denied. One of Sandusky’s sons, Jeffrey Sandusky, was recently arrested and charged with sexual assault of a minor.

The NCAA used The Freeh Report into the handling of the Sandusky scandal as the basis of a hefty set of sanctions slapping Penn State’s football program with a four-year postseason ban, vacated over 100 wins from the record books and a significant reduction in scholarships, and fined the university $60 million. The NCAA has since rescinded its sanction terms, first gradually and then entirely following positive reviews from an independent review from George Mitchell and mounting legal battles.

McQueary was awarded a $7.3 million payment from Penn State in a defamation lawsuit.

Paterno passed away in January 2012. His vacated wins from the NCAA sanctions have since been restored.

New Jerry Sandusky report due out today

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If you thought all of the reports regarding the Jerry Sandusky scandal had been written, think again. A new report is due out today from Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The information shed by the report should have more of a political impact than it may have on the university or the football program, but fans and university administrators will be sure to keep a watchful eye on the findings.

Kane holds the position previously held by current Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett. This is important because the attorney general’s office did not get involved with any investigation into the Sandusky crimes until 2009, a year after authorities filed a complaint about Sandusky. Kane has suggested Corbett had some political motive to slow down any investigation into the former Penn State assistant coach. Corbett was a trustee, but denied Kane’s allegation. It took nearly three years before any charges were filed against Sandusky, who is now serving a 30-60 year sentence for his sexual abuse crimes against young boys.

Three former Penn State officials — Former athletics director Tim Curley and vice president of finance Gary Schultz, and former university president Graham Spanier — currently await trial in Harrisburg for their involvement in the response to the Sandusky crimes.

Penn State’s football team is still digging out from the fallout of the Sandusky crimes and university response. The NCAA slammed the program with a four-year postseason ban. The NCAA took away a significant number of scholarships but has since returned some and allowed Penn State to get back to a normal scholarship limit ahead of schedule. Unless the NCAA amends any portion of the sanctions, Penn State will be ineligible for participation in the Big Ten championship game, College Football Playoff or any bowl game until the 2016 season.

Louis Freeh does not want delay in Spanier defamation case

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One of the men once criticized for rushing to judgement is, ironically, hoping to rush to a judgement.

Former FBI director Louis Freeh is being sued by former Penn State University president Graham Spanier for defamation of character, a result of the investigative report Freeh was commissioned by the university to conduct that ultimately led to the football program being hit hard with NCAA sanctions. Spanier, a former high-ranking member of the BCS committee, was one of the top subjects of the report along with former head coach Joe Paterno and former athletics director Tim Curley. Freeh’s legal team has asked an appeals court not to delay the defamation case filed against him.

Spanier asked for the civil suit to be delayed until the criminal trial he is a part of concludes. Spanier was charged with assisting in covering up complaints related to former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in jail for 45 counts of various sex abuse/rape crimes. Spanier is allegedly lied about his awareness of the Sandusky accusations at the time. Spanier’s reasoning for the desire to have the civil suit delayed is based on the idea that key witnesses could refuse to testify due to their link to the criminal trial involving Spanier, Curley and Gary Schultz.

Freeh’s pedigree has come under fire from multiple angles since the release of the Freeh Report, which the NCAA adopted as concrete evidence to support the sanctions against Penn State. The Paterno family has criticized the report’s findings, perhaps as expected, but others have criticized Freeh’s work as well. The NCAA slammed Penn State with a four-year postseason ban, a significant reduction in football scholarships (which has already been amended), and a $60 million fine to be used to help raise awareness over sexual abuse.

Freeh’s legal team wishes for the civil trial to be done as quickly as possible to hopefully clear the former FBI director’s name rather than let this linger.

Outgoing Penn State trustee regrets how Joe Paterno was fired

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At least one member of Penn State’s Board of Trustees has had second thoughts about how the board handled the decision to remove Joe Paterno as head coach at Penn State in November 2011. Al Clemens, who will be replaced on the board as a governor-appointed representative, issued a statement Friday explaining his regrets about the way Paterno was handled after the shocking revelations of the Jerry Sandusky scandal were revealed.

Paterno was ousted from his position of head coach of the football program on November 9, 2011. The decision was made swiftly by the board of trustees at Penn State, perhaps feeling the pressure to make a decision to take action against those tied to the Sandusky scandal in some capacity. Graham Spanier was also removed from his position as president of the university.

“On November 9, 2011, I and my fellow Trustees, voted to fire Joe Paterno in a hastily called meeting,” Clemens said in his statement on Friday. “We had little advance notice or opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, Coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That was a mistake. I will always regret that my name is attached to that rush to injustice.”

Paterno was fired with a simple phone call after being handed an envelope with a phone number to call was handed to him at his home.

In the heat of the moment, there was great media and national pressure for the school to make a statement by forcing Paterno out. Pterno had reportedly not done enough in responding to acts of sexual abuse being committed by his former assistant coach, Sandusky, on Penn State property. Paterno has said publicly he would step down at the end of the season hours before the board brought an end to his reign as head coach.

“We thought that because of the difficulties that engulfed our university, and they are grave, that it is necessary to make a change in the leadership to set a course for a new direction,” said John Surma Jr., the vice chairman of the board, said at the time.