By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Former Penn State University president Graham Spanier has now been charged with numerous offenses in what the state attorney general’s office is calling a “conspiracy of silence” in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case (see related stories).
In addition to charges against Spanier, additional charges have been filed against two former administrators, VP Gary Schultz and athletic director Timothy Curley.
All three men now are charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy, and failure to report suspected child abuse.
Pennsylvania attorney general Linda Kelly (below) says Spanier, Schultz, and Curley were well aware of incidents involving the boys known as “Victim 2″ and Victim 6.”
But, she says, “they essentially turned a blind eye to the serial predatory acts of Jerry Sandusky committed on the campus, when they all knew that children were the victims of these assaults. They gave him unfettered access to Penn State facilities both before his retirement as well as afterwards.”
All three men are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow.
A short time after Kelly’s announcement, lawyers for Spanier released a scathing statement calling the charges “a last desperate act” by Governor Tom Corbett, who was attorney general when the investigation began.
Spanier’s lawyers call the charges “the work of a vindictive and politically motivated governor” working through a successor, Linda Kelly, that he appointed.
Prosecutors today also added counts against the two former underlings, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who were already charged with lying to the grand jury that investigated the former Penn State assistant football coach.
Curley and Schultz face new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction, and conspiracy.
“This was not a mistake by these men, this was not an oversight,” said Kelly. “It was not misjudgment on their part. This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials to actively conceal the truth.”
Curley and Schultz have repeatedly asserted they are innocent, and at a news conference this summer Spanier’s attorneys insisted he was never told there was anything of a sexual nature involving Sandusky and children.
Messages left for their respective attorneys on Thursday were not immediately returned.
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 ten boys over 15 years. He has maintained he is innocent and was transferred to a maximum security prison on Wednesday (see related story), 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 as president after Sandusky’s arrest in November 2011.
Prosecutors said all three knew of complaints involving Sandusky showering with boys in 1998 and 2001.
Spanier has said he had no memory of e-mail traffic concerning the 1998 complaint (by a woman that Sandusky had 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 included with the charges indicate that Curley, Schultz, and Spanier told the university’s lawyer they had no documents that addressed inappropriate conduct with boys by Sandusky.
But Schultz did retain a Sandusky file in his office, the jury concluded. He told his administrative assistant Joan Coble never to look at it, according to the grand jury.