HARRISBURG, Pa. – A lawyer for former Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier called the case against her client “absolutely ridiculous” Wednesday as the ex-administrator was formally charged with covering up child-sex-abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky.
Spanier, 64, said little as District Judge William C. Wenner arraigned him on eight counts including conspiracy, perjury, obstruction, and child endangerment. He left the courtroom on a $125,000 unsecured bond and under orders not to leave the state.
Elizabeth Ainslie, part of a team of attorneys representing the former college chief, proclaimed her client’s innocence.
“Dr. Spanier was never given the chance to speak to the grand jury to give his side of the story,” she said. “We look forward to the chance to present his side in the future.”
Prosecutors accused Spanier last week of participating in a “conspiracy of silence” aimed at protecting the university against potentially damaging accusations against Sandusky.
The former assistant football coach was sentenced last month to a minimum of 30 years in prison for molesting 10 boys he met through a charity for underprivileged youth.
According to the presentment against Spanier, he, along with suspended Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz, had at least two opportunities to stop Sandusky, in 1998 and in 2001. and did nothing.
Curley, 58, and Schultz, 63, were arraigned last week on charges of perjury, obstruction, and child endangerment. All three have denied that they knew about the severity of the former coach’s crimes.
Emails cited in court filings, however, suggest the trio knew enough to be concerned.
When a mother reported that Sandusky had inappropriately touched her young son in a locker room shower in 1998, they closely monitored the resulting investigation by State College and Penn State police, according to the documents. No charges were filed in that case.
Three years later, graduate assistant Mike McQueary reported that he had walked in on Sandusky molesting another boy in a campus shower. Spanier, Curley, and Schultz decided not to notify outside authorities.
In one email cited by prosecutors, Spanier appears to worry about how that decision might affect the university.
Ainslie said Wednesday that the e-mails had been taken out of context.