Ex-Penn State pres­i­dent con­victed of 1 count of child en­dan­ger­ment

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS - By Mark Scolforo

For­mer Penn State pres­i­dent Gra­ham Spanier was con­victed Fri­day of hush­ing up sus­pected child sex abuse in 2001 by Jerry San­dusky, whose ar­rest a decade later blew up into a scan­dal for the univer­sity and led to the fir­ing of beloved foot­ball coach Joe Paterno.

Ju­rors found Spanier guilty of one mis­de­meanor count of child en­dan­ger­ment over his han­dling of a com­plaint against the re­tired as­sis­tant foot­ball coach but found him not guilty of con­spir­acy and a sec­ond child en­dan­ger­ment count.

Spanier, 68, showed no emo­tion when the ver­dict was read af­ter 13 hours of de­lib­er­a­tions.

The child en­dan­ger­ment charge car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of five years in prison. Prose­cu­tors de­clined to say whether they would seek jail time. Spanier’s lawyer said he would ap­peal.

The trial cen­tered on how Spanier and two other univer­sity lead­ers han­dled a com­plaint by grad­u­ate as­sis­tant Mike McQueary, who said he re­ported see­ing San­dusky sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing a boy in a team shower in 2001. They told San­dusky he could not bring chil­dren onto the cam­pus any­more but did not re­port the mat­ter to po­lice or child wel­fare author­i­ties.

San­dusky was not ar­rested un­til 2011 af­ter an anony­mous tip led prose­cu­tors to in­ves­ti­gate the shower in­ci­dent. He was con­victed the next year of sex­u­ally abus­ing 10 boys and is serv­ing a decades-long prison sen­tence.

Four of the eight young men tes­ti­fy­ing at San­dusky’s trial said they were abused af­ter 2001.

“Evil in the form of Jerry San­dusky was al­lowed to run wild,” Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Pa­trick Schulte told the jury.

The scan­dal sent shock­waves through the Penn State com­mu­nity. It led to the fir­ing of Paterno — who died of can­cer at 85 in early 2012 — and re­sulted in the school pay­ing out more than $90 mil­lion to set­tle civil claims by over 30 ac­cusers. In ad­di­tion, Penn State was fined $48 mil­lion by the NCAA.

Paterno, a Hall of Fame coach, was never charged with a crime.

Two of Spanier’s for­mer lieu­tenants, ath­letic di­rec­tor Tim Cur­ley and vice pres­i­dent Gary Schultz, pleaded guilty to mis­de­meanor child en­dan­ger­ment charges a week ago and tes­ti­fied against Spanier.

But all three de­nied they were told the en­counter in the shower was sex­ual in na­ture.

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