New charges have been filed against three former Penn State officials in the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal, accused of having "used their positions to conceal and cover up for years the activities of a known child predator," Pennsylvania's attorney general said Thursday.
Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier – charged for the first time in the case – and former Athletic Director Tim Curley and ex-Vice President Gary Schultz now face the same five charges: obstruction of justice, perjury, conspiracy, endangering the welfare of children and failure to report allegations of child abuse.
"(The three defendants) worked to actively conceal the truth with total disregard to the children who were victims in this case,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda L. Kelly told reporters Thursday.
The scandal, which erupted nearly a year ago, led to the firing of Spanier and longtime head football coach Joe Paterno, who died in January. Curley and Schultz had been charged with some of the counts – perjury and failure to report allegations of abuse – previously; both pleaded not guilty at the time.
Sandusky, the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys and was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison in October.
Jurors determined that Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999, used his access to university facilities and his foundation for underprivileged youths to abuse the boys sexually. During the trial, a 23-year-old man identified as Victim No. 4 testified that he was 13 when Sandusky sexually abused him in a university shower.
Less than a month after Sandusky's conviction, former FBI Director Louis Freeh released his university-funded report that said Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz took part in a cover-up to avoid bad publicity.
Attorneys for Spanier blasted the review, calling it a "blundering, indefensible indictment" and "a flat-out distortion of facts" that was "infused with bias and innuendo."
Spanier told The New Yorker magazine's Jeffrey Toobin in August that he had no recollection of e-mails he is accused of exchanging with top university officials over two specific allegations of abuse involving Sandusky: one in 1998 and another in 2001.
"I am aware, as I said in my letter to the board of trustees, that I was apparently copied on two e-mails," Spanier told Toobin. "I didn't reply to them. The first e-mail that I saw didn't mention anybody's name. It simply said something to the effect of 'The employee will be interviewed tomorrow,' something like that, no name mentioned. Then, about five weeks later, I think it was, I was copied on another e-mail that said, 'The interview has been completed, the investigation has been completed, nothing was found, Jerry felt badly that the kid might have felt badly.' "
Spanier, Curley and Schultz are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Friday, Kelly said.
Asked if Paterno would have faced the same charges if he were alive, Kelly said: "Mr. Paterno is deceased. The defendants charged in this case are Curley, Schultz and Spanier. I'm not going to speculate or comment on Mr. Paterno’s relationship to this investigation. Mr. Paterno is dead, and that’s the end of it."
Sandusky is seeking a new trial.
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