HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — Pennsylvania’s attorney general will appeal a federal judge’s decision to vacate the child-endangerment conviction of former Penn State President Graham Spanier. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the decision Wednesday, a day after U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick ruled Spanier was improperly charged under a 2007 law for actions that occurred in 2001.
“Graham Spanier, as President of Penn State University, was personally advised that children were being sexually abused on school property,” said Shapiro. “Evidence proved he chose not to help the children—but instead to cover up the abuse, despite being well aware of his responsibility as a supervisor.READ MORE: Missing 6-Year-Old Sahara Little Found Safe, Stolen Vehicle Found In Checkers Parking Lot, Police Say
Mehalchick gave Shapiro’s office three months to retry Spanier, who had been convicted for how he responded in 2001 to a complaint about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy.
Shapiro says federal courts have limited power to act in state criminal cases, and argues Mehalchick exceeded that authority.READ MORE: 23-Year-Old Dies After Tuesday Night Shooting In Kensington, Police Say
“In a last-minute and highly unusual decision yesterday evening, a federal magistrate set Spanier free just before he was finally about to begin serving his deserved sentence. Federal courts have very limited power to act in state criminal proceedings, and this ruling plainly exceeded that power,” said Shapiro.
Spanier was forced out as president shortly after Sandusky’s arrest in November 2011.
The 70-year-old had been scheduled to begin serving two months in jail Wednesday.MORE NEWS: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Officials To Provide Update To Anti-Violence Efforts Underway Citywide
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)