News Column

Sandusky Hearing Starts for 3 Former Penn State Officials

July 29, 2013

Three former Penn State officials accused of interfering in the Jerry Sandusky investigation were in court in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday for a pretrial hearing.

The hearing in Dauphin County Common Pleas Court was to determine whether the case against former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director-on-leave Tim Curley and retired Senior Vice President Gary Schultz will proceed to trial. The hearing before Magistrate William Wenner is expected to take several days, The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News reported.

The three men are accused of interfering with a 2009-11 grand jury inquiry into allegations Sandusky, a former assistant football coach for the Nittany Lions, had sexually abused young boys and having failed to report a 2001 allegation to law enforcement.

They have pleaded innocent to charges of perjury, endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy and failure to report suspected child abuse, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

Sandusky was subsequently convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse and sent to prison for 30-60 years.

The Post-Gazette reported Spanier, Curley and Schultz argue the case against them should be tossed because they believed Cynthia Baldwin, who was serving as general counsel for Penn State, was their attorney during their 2011 appearances before the grand jury. Baldwin, a former state Supreme Court justice, has said she was representing the school, not the three men.

The defendants contend if Baldwin was not their legal counsel, they were denied their right to an attorney.

Duquesne University Associate Professor Wes Oliver told the Post-Gazette the hearing most likely will result in a finding of probable cause for the case to move forward because the standard is fairly low.

"There's no way this case won't move to the next stage," Oliver said.

He said the question then becomes "about whether these men had enough information that they were criminally reckless in not acting."

Curley's attorney, Caroline Roberto, said the hearing will not be an indicator of guilt or innocence.

"Tim Curley is innocent and we look forward to vigorously challenging the charges at every stage," she said.

Source: Copyright UPI 2013