HARRISBURG — Former Penn State president Graham Spanier has been charged with perjury, child endangerment and obstruction of justice today in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child abuse investigation, making the once-respected leader the fourth person to be indicted in the scandal.
Former university administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz are each facing six new charges including two felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and felony counts of conspiracy - perjury and conspiracy - endangering the welfare of children. They are also facing new misdemeanor charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy - obstruction of justice.
Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
Attorney General Linda Kelly today called the actions of Spanier, Curley and Schultz a “conspiracy of silence.”
“All three of these men knowingly testified falsely,” Kelly said during a noon news conference in Harrisburg.
She said Spanier, Curley and Schultz are all scheduled to appear for arraignment on the charges Friday.
Spanier, 64, is also facing conspiracy to commit perjury, child endangerment, failure to report and obstruction of justice.
Curley and Schultz already are awaiting trial on perjury and failure to report abuse charges from the indictment last year that rocked the community.
In a statement this afternoon, Penn State officials said Spainer will be placed on leave, effective immediately, in light of the charges. He was removed as president Nov. 9, but continued to serve as a tenured professor, though he had been on sabbatical leave.
After charges were filed last November, Schultz returned to retirement and Curley was placed on administrative leave. Curley was on a fixed-term contract and has recently been given notice that his contract will not be renewed when it expires on June 30, 2013.
It is not immediately clear how the new charges would affect Curley’s and Schultz’s trial, which is set for jury selection in Harrisburg on Jan. 7. Attorneys for both men have filed a slew of motions, asking the judge to try their clients separately as we’ll as delaying trial.
Curley and Schultz have maintained their innocence.The expected charges bring about another twist in the nearly yearlong fallout of the Sandusky scandal, which has Penn State working to rebuild its tarnished reputation in the wake of the criminal cases against Curley and Schultz, unprecedented sanctions by the NCAA on the football team, and the firing of head coach Joe Paterno and Spanier.
Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno were blasted in a university-commissioned report released this summer that accused the men of concealing child abuse allegations against Sandusky years ago.Kelly would not address whether Paterno would have faced charges if he were alive.
Attorneys for the four men decried the findings if the Freeh report. Spanier was among the last of more than 400 people interviewed by Freeh’s investigators, and he originally sued the university to get access to old emails he wanted to review before he met with the investigative team.
Spanier’s attorney, Judge Timothy Lewis, blasted the report for being incomplete.