Former Penn State President Is Convicted
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 31, 2017,
Mar 31, 2017, 3:49
He was found not guilty of felony endangerment and conspiracy, which would have brought a much more severe sentence.
Sam Silver, Spanier's lawyer, said, "There always have been substantial questions in this case that need to be reviewed and resolved by the appellate courts, and we fully intend to pursue an appeal", the New York Times reported. Jurors deliberated for more than six hours on Thursday and most of Friday before they reached a verdict.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who this year took over the office that had spent almost a decade investigating and prosecuting the Sandusky case, said the verdict showed no one is above the law.
Spanier reportedly approved putting a plan to tell the state Department of Public Welfare on hold and therefore the agency was never informed.
The charges against Spanier came from an accusation that he had been made aware of Sandusky's inappropriate actions and did not alert authorities. Freeh also said the reputation of former head football coach Joe Paterno's legacy is "forever marred by his own decision to do nothing when he had the chance to make a real difference".
Spanier, Penn State's president from 1995 until he was forced out shortly after Sandusky's 2011 arrest, watched stoically throughout the trial as prosecutors accused him of enabling a pedophile. According to PennLive, Spanier likely faces between three months and one year in prison, although it could be more.
"There's been a conviction of Jerry Sandusky, a conviction of Graham Spanier, a conviction of [former Athletic Director] Tim Curley, and a conviction of [Vice President] Gary Schultz", she said. He was convicted the next year of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving 30 to 60 years behind bars, but he maintains his innocence and is appealing.
The verdict was handed down five years after Mr. Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted on 45 counts related to child molestation.
Penn State commissioned a report - known as the Freeh report for its chief author, Louis Freeh, a former FBI director and federal judge - on the university's role in the Sandusky crimes.
Curley, then the athletic director, and Schultz, a vice president, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment last week and testified for the prosecution.
The case has deeply divided the Penn State community and its board of trustees.
"Obviously he knew children were at risk for something", she said.
Schultz and Curley testified they never told Spanier that the incident reported in the shower was sexual.
Both Schultz and Curley disputed McQueary's recollection, as they have in the past. Both admitted they wish they would have done more.
The report also criticized Penn State and its leaders for a culture about athletics that discouraged scrutiny.
Speaking to reporters after the verdict was announced, lead prosecutor Laura Ditka called the conviction "a major victory".