By Todd Quinones, Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa., (CBS) – After a two-day preliminary hearing in a Harrisburg courtroom, three former top Penn State administrators have been ordered held for trial on charges that they covered up the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz, and former Athletic Director Tim Curley – they were all once among the most powerful men at the beloved university, but now with Tuesday’s ruling to move this criminal case forward to trial, they are all facing possible prison time.
“The Magistrate has made his decision. We respect that decision even if we disagree with it,” Spanier’s attorney Tim Lewis said.
The attorneys for the three defendants, including Thomas Farrell representing Schultz, argued that the Commonwealth failed to produce enough evidence to try their clients.
“What a prosecutor is supposed to do is come into court and introduce evidence… and then make arguments about the elements of the offense… and how the evidence proves each of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt. I didn’t hear anything like that today, I haven’t heard anything like that in two years, because there isn’t evidence,” said Farrell.
In court on Tuesday for the first time, Spanier’s grand jury testimony was made public and read in court. Spanier testified he wasn’t aware of allegations Jerry Sandusky showered with a boy in 1998.
He went on to claim when Schultz and Curley came to him in 2001 about more allegations Sandusky was seen in the showers naked with a young boy, he was only told they were “horsing around” and that he was never told anything sexual was going on.
Among the prosecution’s arguments is that the alleged decision by the defendants to remain silent about Jerry Sandusky led to more victims. In the courtroom observing the preliminary hearing was Philadelphia attorney Thomas Kline.
“The testimony went directly to the young man who I represent, Victim #5, and the prosecution clearly linked the fact that he had been assaulted just six months after the McQueary incident,” said Kline.
Kline refers to the locker room incident involving Jerry Sandusky and a boy witnessed by Mike McQueary in 2001.
The district judge, calling it a “tragic day for Penn State”, ruled that Schultz, Spanier and Curley be held for trial on charges of endangering the welfare of children and other offenses in what the prosecutor again characterized as a conspiracy to remain silent about Jerry Sandusky.
All three men have maintained their innocence and have vowed to fight the charges.
As things stand now, it appears this case may not go to trial until March of next year.