Graham Spanier

Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier's suit against ex-FBI boss dismissed

ap-graham-spanier.jpg
AP Images

Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier's suit against ex-FBI boss dismissed

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier's criminal conviction means he is barred from pursuing defamation claims against former FBI director Louis Freeh, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Spanier, who said Freeh made false statements about him in a scathing 2012 report on Penn State's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, was convicted in March of covering up a 2001 abuse allegation against the retired assistant football coach.

Citing Spanier's conviction, Freeh's lawyers argued the defamation suit should be dismissed. Senior Judge Robert Eby said in his ruling that lawyers for both sides agreed Spanier's conviction on a child endangerment count barred him from pursuing his civil claims.

Freeh, in a statement issued by his lawyer, said he was "not surprised that this frivolous and malicious claim has finally been dismissed."

Freeh concluded in his report for Penn State's board of trustees that Spanier, two other administrators and late football coach Joe Paterno concealed abuse allegations against Sandusky for more than a decade out of a desire to avoid bad publicity for the university.

Former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz pleaded guilty to child endangerment and were sentenced to jail.

Spanier faces two months in jail but is free on bail while he appeals. He said in a statement Wednesday that he's confident he will win his appeal and will be able to resume his defamation case against Freeh.

Sandusky was found guilty in 2012 of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence.

Penn State has paid out nearly a quarter-billion dollars in fines, settlements and other costs associated with the sex abuse scandal, and the football program suffered heavy NCAA sanctions. More than 100 of Paterno's victories were briefly erased from the record books.

Paterno's family and supporters hotly dispute Freeh's findings.

Former Penn State officials Gary Schultz, Tim Curley granted work release

ap-psu-schultz-curley.jpg
AP Images

Former Penn State officials Gary Schultz, Tim Curley granted work release

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Two former Penn State administrators are eligible for work release while they serve a few months in jail after pleading guilty to child endangerment over their handling of a 2001 complaint about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

A judge on Wednesday gave former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley permission for work release, if their plans meet jail rules.

Judge John Boccabella also is denying a request by former university president Graham Spanier to have his jury conviction for child endangerment thrown out or to get a new trial.

Schultz and Spanier face two months in jail, while Curley was sentenced to three months behind bars. They're scheduled to report to jail July 15.

Sandusky is appealing a 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.

3 ex-Penn State officials sent to jail in Jerry Sandusky scandal

ap-graham-spanier.jpg
AP Images

3 ex-Penn State officials sent to jail in Jerry Sandusky scandal

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Penn State's former president and two other ex-administrators were sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to report a child sexual abuse allegation against Jerry Sandusky a decade before his arrest engulfed the university in scandal and brought down football coach Joe Paterno.

"They ignored the opportunity to put an end to his crimes when they had a chance to do so," Judge John Boccabella said as he lambasted the three defendants and the Hall of Fame coach over a delay that prosecutors say enabled Sandusky to molest four more boys.

Boccabella said he was "appalled that the common sense to make a phone call did not occur," a transgression that "sort of robs my faith of who we are as adults and where we are going."

Former President Graham Spanier, 68, was sentenced to four to 12 months, with the first two in jail and the rest under house arrest. He was convicted of child endangerment.

Former athletic director Tim Curley, 63, received a sentence of seven to 23 months, with three in jail. Former vice president Gary Schultz, 67, was given six to 23 months, with two months behind bars. They pleaded guilty to child endangerment.

The three are to report to jail July 15.

They all apologized in the courtroom to Sandusky's victims before the sentences were handed down.

Spanier said he regretted that "I did not intervene more forcefully." Schultz said: "It really sickens me to think I might have played a part in children being hurt."

The case hinged on coaching assistant Mike McQueary's claim that he witnessed Sandusky -- a retired member of the coaching staff who ran a charity for youngsters -- molesting a boy in the team showers in 2001. Prosecutors said that after McQueary recounted what he saw, the three administrators decided not to report it to authorities to protect the university's reputation.

Sandusky was not arrested until 2011, after a prosecutor got an anonymous email tip. Sandusky was found guilty the next year of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison.

Penn State has paid out nearly a quarter-billion dollars in fines, settlements and other costs associated with the scandal, and the football program suffered heavy NCAA sanctions. More than 100 of Paterno's victories were briefly erased from the record books.

Both the judge and prosecutors Friday thrust blame onto Paterno himself. Paterno was fired but never charged with a crime; he died of lung cancer at age 85 two months after Sandusky's arrest.

Boccabella noted that others who were aware of McQueary's report, including McQueary and Paterno, could have called police.

Paterno "could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty," Boccabella said. "Why he didn't is beyond me."

Prosecutor Patrick Schulte said Curley at one point had drawn up a plan to report Sandusky to state authorities, but "something changed after talking to coach Paterno."

"What was it about that conversation that made you change your mind?" Schulte said, referring to the ex-athletic director.

Curley, Schultz and Spanier have denied they were told the encounter in the shower was sexual in nature. Paterno's son, Jay Paterno, said Friday that his father had followed the law in alerting Curley and Schultz, and that prosecutors have no evidence that Paterno tried to protect Sandusky.

"For them to bring that up and bring Joe Paterno into this, it's an abuse of their office," he said.

Prosecutors reserved some of their harshest words for Spanier, with Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka saying he was "a complete and utter failure as a leader when it mattered most." She said his inaction "allowed children to be harmed."

The judge came down hardest on Curley, however, saying the sports department was his responsibility and questioning Curley's claims of memory lapses on the stand during Spanier's trial.

"I find it really hard to believe that he doesn't remember every detail of the most serious mistake he ever made," Boccabella said.