Ex-Penn St. president charged in Sandusky case

Ex-Penn St. president charged in Sandusky case

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) The ``conspiracy of silence'' that protected Jerry Sandusky extended all the way to the top at Penn State, prosecutors said Thursday as they charged former university President Graham Spanier with hushing up child sexual abuse allegations against the former assistant football coach.

Prosecutors also added counts against two of Spanier's former underlings, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who were already charged with lying to a grand jury.

``This was not a mistake by these men. This was not an oversight. It was not misjudgment on their part,'' said state Attorney General Linda Kelly. ``This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials to actively conceal the truth.''

Spanier's lawyers issued a statement that asserted his innocence and described the new charges as an attempt by Gov. Tom Corbett to divert attention from the three-year investigation that began under his watch as attorney general.

``These charges are the work of a vindictive and politically motivated governor working through an unelected attorney general ... whom he appointed to do his bidding,'' the four defense lawyers wrote.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said the defense statement ``sounds like the ranting of a desperate man who just got indicted.''

Curley's lawyer Caroline Roberto said he was innocent of all charges, as he has asserted in the past. She said the new documents were being reviewed and would have a more comprehensive comment later. Schultz also has maintained his innocence; his lawyer did not return a message seeking comment.

At a Capitol news conference, Kelly said all three men ``knowingly testified falsely and failed to provide important information and evidence.''

Spanier was charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy. Curley and Schultz face new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.

The charges were filed with a suburban Harrisburg district judge, whose office said Curley and Schultz were expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon and Spanier tentatively scheduled to appear Wednesday. They came nearly a year to the day that Sandusky was arrested.

Sandusky, who spent decades on the Penn State staff and was defensive coordinator during two national championship seasons, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He has maintained he is innocent and was transferred to a maximum security prison on Wednesday, where he is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence.

Curley, 58, the athletic director on leave while he serves out the last year of his contract, and Schultz, 63, who has retired as vice president for business and finance, were charged a year ago with lying to the grand jury and with failing to properly report suspect child abuse. Their trial is set for early January in Harrisburg.

Spanier, 64, of State College, had been university president for 16 years when he was forced out after Sandusky's November 2011 arrest. He remains a faculty member but was placed on paid leave Thursday.

Prosecutors said Spanier, Curley and Schultz knew of complaints involving Sandusky showering with boys in 1998 and 2001.

``They essentially turned a blind eye to the serial predatory acts committed by Jerry Sandusky,'' Kelly said.

The grand jury report included with the charges said ``the actual harm realized by this wanton failure is staggering,'' and listed instances of abuse detailed at Sandusky's criminal trial that happened after 1998.

``The continued cover-up of this incident and the ongoing failure to report placed every minor child who would come into contact with Sandusky in the future in grave jeopardy of being abused,'' jurors wrote.

Spanier has said he had no memory of email traffic concerning the 1998 complaint made by a mother after Sandusky showered with her son, and only slight recollections about the 2001 complaint by a team assistant who said he stumbled onto Sandusky sexually abusing a boy inside a campus shower.

The grand jury report indicates Curley, Schultz and Spanier told the university's lawyer they had no documents that addressed Sandusky having inappropriate contact with boys.

But Schultz did retain a Sandusky file in his office, the jury concluded, and he told his administrative assistant Joan Coble never to look at it.

``She said it was a very unusual request and was made in a `tone of voice' she had never heard him use before,'' according to the jury report.

Another Schultz assistant took the file from his office at the time of Schultz's arrest, made a copy and gave the file to him, the grand jury said. Kelly said it was eventually obtained by the grand jury.

A large section of the presentment concerns Spanier's concealing details about the investigation from the Penn State board of trustees after his grand jury testimony last year. At a May 2011 trustees meeting, he was asked by the board about the matter and did not tell them it involved the school and Sandusky, the jury said.

``Spanier specifically informed the board that the investigation had nothing to do with Penn State and that the investigation was regarding a child in Clinton County without affiliation with Penn State,'' the jury wrote. ``Spanier also told the board that he could say little more about the matter'' because of grand jury secrecy.

The three men's actions were criticized in a report commissioned by Penn State and issued over the summer by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. That report concluded Spanier, Curley, Schultz and then-coach Joe Paterno concealed Sandusky's activities because they were worried about bad publicity.

Kelly sidestepped the question when asked if Paterno, who died of lung cancer in January, would have faced charges were he alive. Paterno had said he knew nothing of the 1998 complaint, but email traffic indicates he was in the loop.

``Mr. Paterno is deceased,'' she said. ``The defendants who have been charged in this case are Curley, Schultz and Spanier, and I'm not going to speculate or comment on Mr. Paterno's relationship to this investigation.''

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said he was not backing off his assertion last year that Paterno had a moral obligation, if not a legal one, to tell police what he knew.

``What he did, what he didn't do, Joe Paterno, you guys can decide,'' Noonan told reporters. ``Most of this stuff is in the presentment. But that's not the point here. The point is, we have the president, the athletic director, I mean the actual top people and that's who we have charged.''

Freeh's investigators uncovered emails in which the administrators discussed the 1998 complaint, including a May 5 email from Curley to Schultz and Spanier, with ``Joe Paterno'' in the subject line. It read: ``I have touched bases with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.''

Spanier told Freeh's team that he believed in 2001 that the encounter witnessed by graduate assistant Mike McQueary amounted to ``horseplay,'' although an email sent by him to Curley at that time reflected a much more somber tone.

In that email, Spanier was reacting to a proposal by Curley in which they would not report Sandusky to authorities but instead tell him he needed help and that he could no longer bring children into Penn State facilities.

``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,'' Spanier wrote in 2001. ``The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed.''


Associated Press writers Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Peter Jackson in Linglestown, and Maryclaire Dale and Randy Pennell in Philadelphia contributed to this report.



Attorney general news release with link to grand jury report:


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Wizards at Spurs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards at Spurs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: AT&T Center
Tip-off: 9:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Wizards are trending up

The Wizards have had some steep ups and downs in recent weeks. They lost three in a row from Feb. 28 through March 4 and that turned into five losses in seven games, their worst stretch since John Wall injured his left knee. But now, with two straight wins, the Wizards appear to be in good shape. They have won four of their last six games and all of those wins came against teams currently holding playoff spots.

The Wizards enter Wednesday night sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference. They have been off the past three days and during that break the Pacers won a game and pushed ahead into fourth. The Pacers play the Pelicans on Wednesday, while the third-place Cavs battle the Raptors and the sixth-place Sixers see the Grizzlies.


Tough place to play

The Wizards head to Texas hoping to win in San Antonio for the first time since 1999. Yes, you read that right: 1999. Like, back when Limp Bizkit was a thing. It has been 19 years and 17 straight losses at the Spurs for the Wizards.

Washington has had trouble with the Spurs in general in the past two decades, as have most teams. The Spurs have won 20 of their last 23 matchups overall and won 17 straight from 2006 through 2015. The Spurs under head coach Gregg Popovich have been among the most consistent winners in all of sports and the Wizards have had trouble cracking the code.


Spurs are still getting it done

The Spurs are currently sixth in the Western Conference despite having a slightly better record than the Wizards. They have gotten this far despite their best player Kawhi Leonard missing all but nine games this season. It is a remarkable feat and one that could very well win Popovich another Coach of the Year award.

In Leonard's absence, many have stepped up. LaMarcus Aldridge has put in an All-Star season with averages of 22.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Rudy Gay has enjoyed a nice bounceback season with 11.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. And Pau Gasol is still making an impact with 10.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Really, though, it's all about their defense. The Spurs boast the lowest opponents points per game average (99.0) and the third-best defensive rating (104.1).


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Paul Richardson's Redskins contract is team friendly early

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Paul Richardson's Redskins contract is team friendly early

The Redskins’ contract with wide receiver Paul Richardson is very team friendly in the first year but it increases over the years to the point where he needs to be a very productive receiver in order to justify staying on the roster.

The big picture of the deal is $40 million over five years. A total of $12.5 million is fully guaranteed at signing, which is comprised of a $10 million signing bonus, his $1.5 million 2018 salary, and $1 million of his $5 million 2019 salary.

More money will become guaranteed if Richardson is on the roster as of five days after the start of the league years in 2019 and 2020. The remaining $4 million of his 2019 salary and $3.5 million of his $6 million 2020 salary become guaranteed on those dates.


Richardson will get salaries of $7.5 million in 2021 and 2022. Each year of the contract he can earn $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses ($31,250 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster).

It all adds up to the following salary cap numbers:

2018: $4 million
2019: $7.5 million
2020: $8.5 million
2021: $10 million
2022: $10 million

The average annual value of the contract is $8 million, which is tied for 24th among NFL receivers.

The first window the Redskins have to terminate Richardson’s contract without taking a negative cap hit would be in 2020 as long as they do it prior to the fifth day of the league year when the partial salary guarantee kicks in. They would take a $6 million deal cap hit but they would save a net of $2.5 million.

The last two years, when the cap numbers are at their highest, the Redskins could easily move on, saving $6 million in cap space in 2021 and $8 million in 2022.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.