Former Penn State President Graham Spanier Indicted: What Took So Long?

If you are a regular reader of Dubsism, you know we’ve covered the Jerry Sandusky case in detail. Back in July, after the release of the Freeh Report, we released an exhaustive review of that report. While there was much blame to go around, one of the key questions we asked at the time was why was former Penn State president Graham Spanier not facing any criminal charges for his conduct in this case? From our findings, we outlined ten reasons why Spanier needed to face some type of sanction, if not outright criminal charges.

  • Potential perjury count #1: Testifying to the 2001 grand jury he was unaware of the 1998 investigation against Sandusky, even though emails from 1998 show him discussing the investigation with athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz.
  • Potential perjury count #2: Repeating this claim to the Special Investigative Counsel, and stating he “never heard a report from anyone” that Sandusky was abusing children.
  • Ethics Violation #1 and #2: Failing to notify the Board of Trustees that an investigation of a prominent assistant football coach was underway, withholding this information from them even while the board was considering (and approving) a favorable land deal between the university and Sandusky’s Second Mile charity.
  • Ethics Violation #3: Approving and pushing for Sandusky’s emeritus rank—and the facility access privileges that came along with it— despite Sandusky not qualifying for it by the established academic rules.
  • Ethics Violation #4: Declaring Curley’s plan to suggest Sandusky stop hanging around children, without actual sanctions, to be “a humane approach.”
  • Potential perjury count #3: Telling the Special Investigative Counsel his first knowledge of the 1998 incident came at the April 2011 grand jury appearance, when notes from his Attorney General interview a month prior reveal he was questioned about it then.
  • Ethics Violation #5 and Potential Misappropriation count #1: Approving an unprecedented $168,000 lump-sum retirement payment to Sandusky in 1999.
  • Ethics Violation #6: Showing no interest in identifying the child involved in the 2001 incident or ascertaining whether or not a crime had occurred.
  • Ethics Violation #7 and Potential Contributing count #1: Opposing any and all independent investigations into Sandusky’s behavior.
  • Potential falsification of records count #1: Modifying the November 2011 Board of Trustees statement without their knowledge or approval, asserting that Curley and Schultz requested administrative leave rather than that the board had decided to place them on leave.

By our count, we have seven ethics violations, and criminal acts of perjury, misappropriation, and falsification of records.

Today, the wait ended.  According to CNN, Spanier will face five criminal charges: obstruction of justice, perjury, conspiracy, endangering the welfare of children and failure to report allegations of child abuse. Former Penn State vice-president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, who were already indicted and facing trial in January on charges of perjury and failure to report allegations of child abuse. Today’s indictment also charges Schultz and Curley with obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and endangering the welfare of children.  Now, Spanier, Schultz and Curley face the same charges related to the Sandusky case.

All are expected to be arraigned on all charges today.

In total,  Spanier faces eight criminal counts: one for perjury, two for endangering the welfare of children, one for obstruction of justice,  one for failure to report report allegations of child abuse and one count each for conspiracy to commit perjury, obstruction of justice, and endangering the welfare of children. Three of these counts are felonies.

Naturally, Spanier denies the charges:

Attorneys for Spanier blasted the review, calling it a “blundering, indefensible indictment” and “a flat-out distortion of facts” that was “infused with bias and innuendo.” […]

“I am aware, as I said in my letter to the board of trustees, that I was apparently copied on two e-mails,” Spanier told Toobin. “I didn’t reply to them. The first e-mail that I saw didn’t mention anybody’s name. It simply said something to the effect of ‘The employee will be interviewed tomorrow,’ something like that, no name mentioned. Then, about five weeks later, I think it was, I was copied on another e-mail that said, ‘The interview has been completed, the investigation has been completed, nothing was found, Jerry felt badly that the kid might have felt badly.’ “

Linda Kelly, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, disagrees. From Sara Ganim of the Harrisburg Patriot-News:

“This was not a mistake, oversight or misjudgement. This was a conspiracy by top officials at Penn State.”

The bottom line was that nobody was dirtier in how the whole  Sandusky affair was handled than Spanier.  The Freeh Report makes it very clear that former Penn State president Graham Spanier is an excellent candidate for a grand jury indictment of his own, and today he finally got it. The cover-up may have started started with Curley, Schultz, and Spanier, but Spanier was clearly the ring-leader.

At the end of the day, it matters little that justice moves slowly; what matters is that justice is done.

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4 responses

  1. I’m going to say firing squad too.

    “Modifying the November 2011 Board of Trustees statement without their knowledge or approval” tells anybody who hasn’t cemented their ears shut that this was an extensive coverup. To be perfectly honest with you, I was shocked at how short the Freeh actually was. You could really go all War and Peace” up in that bitch if you wanted to. (Oh wait…you already did that…)

    It’s good to see he finally got his dick stuck in an electrical outlet. Those types of things happen when you’re shady as hell.

    Meehan

    1. That quote also is the key to the question as to who orchestrated the cover up. In other words, all those big brains who couldn’t wait to shit on Joe Paterno really are going to have a hard time making their argument hold water after this. Too bad I already kicked Al Parkins off this site; he was the perfect example of those mental pygmys.

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