Penn State's Curley, Schultz held for trial on perjury charges
December 16, 2011 3:00 PM
Caroline Roberto, the attorney for Tim Curley arrives at Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg for the hearing for Curley and Gary Schultz.
Bradley C. Bower/Associated Press
Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, right, arrives for the hearing at Dauphin County Court in Harrisburg.
Media and spectators line up at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg.
John McQueary leaves the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg after testifying.
Tom Farrell, the attorney for Gary Schultz, arrives at Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg.
By Jon Schmitz Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HARRISBURG -- A Dauphin County judge today ordered two Penn State University administrators to stand trial on charges of perjury and failing to report child abuse in connection with the Jerry Sandusky case.
District Judge William Wenner ordered Tim Curley, 57, who is on administrative leave as Penn State's athletic director, and Gary Schultz, 62, who retired as senior vice president of business and finance, to face trial on one count each of perjury and failure to report.
The ruling, after three hours of testimony at a preliminary hearing, was not a finding of guilt, only that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
After the ruling, attorneys for Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz reiterated their clients' innocence and predicted they would prevail at trial.
"Nothing happened today that we from the defense team did not expect," said Caroline Roberto, attorney for Mr. Curley.
Ms.Roberto repeated her courtroom argument that perjury cannot be sustained by one person's word against another's.
"There must be corroboration," she said.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Marc Costanzo said the four witnesses and grand jury transcripts presented by the prosecution, "was a subset of all the evidence we have" and denounced the conduct of Penn State administrators in the case.
During today's hearing, none of the three people at the center of the perjury case told precisely the same story in sworn testimony aired today in a preliminary hearing in Harrisburg.
Assistant Penn State football coach Mike McQueary testified today that he told Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz specifically that he thought he saw Mr. Sandusky molesting a boy in a locker-room shower on a Friday night in March, 2002. According to grand jury testimony made public today, those administrators each remember the meeting differently.
In his grand jury testimony, Mr. Curley said Mr. McQueary never told him that what he saw in a locker-room shower was sexual -- instead that it was "playful" and "horsing around."
"I don't remember any reports to me that it was sexual in nature," Mr. Curley told the grand jury, a statement prosecutors contend was a lie.
Mr. Curley said in his grand jury testimony he never referred the matter to police because he didn't think a crime occurred, though he did bar Mr. Sandusky, a retired Penn State football defensive coordinator, from bringing children onto campus.
Mr. Curley told the grand jury that Mr. Sandusky initially denied being on campus at all that night, let alone in a locker-room shower. But Mr. Sandusky changed his story, allowing only that he had been in the building, Mr. Schultz told the grand jury.
At that point, Mr. Curley said, he was unaware of any other allegations against Mr. Sandusky. He did not ask Mr. Sandusky for the boy's name, nor did he pursue it later, he said.
Mr. Schultz told the grand jury he did not remember who originally reported the locker-room incident. He recalled then-head football coach Joe Paterno using the words "disturbing" and "inappropriate" to describe what Mr. McQueary told him.
"Some kind of wrestling-around activity and maybe Jerry grabbed his genitals," is what Mr. Schultz remembered Mr. McQueary's description, he told the grand jury.
In his January testimony he said he consulted with the university's then-president, Graham Spanier, whom he said agreed with how he planned to handle things. Turning the case over to police was never part of the discussion, Mr. Schultz told the grand jury.
"I don't recall (Mr. McQueary) telling us specifically what happened" in locker room, Schultz told grand jury.
McQueary testimony contradicts
This morning during the hearing, Mr. McQueary took the stand, saying publicly for the first time he thought he saw Mr. Sandusky molesting a young boy in a locker-room shower.
Mr. McQueary was the first of five witnesses called. Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer questioned him for nearly an hour.
His voice clear and steady, Mr. McQueary said he had been watching a football movie that night in 2002 -- right before spring break -- which motivated him to go to the Louis and Mildred Lasch Football Building to pick up some recruiting tapes and drop off a new pair of sneakers. Walking into the locker room, he said he heard a "rhythmic slapping sound" he believed was skin against skin.
He heard something coming from the shower.
Mr. McQueary said he "shockingly" saw a boy against a wall with Mr. Sandusky behind him. Both, he said, were naked.
"The boy was up against the wall, facing the wall," Mr. McQueary said.
Mr. Sandusky stood behind the boy with his hands on the boy's waist, Mr. McQueary testified.
He didn't see sexual penetration or hear yelling, but he thought the boy was being molested, Mr. McQueary said. He thought Mr. Sandusky was "having some sort of intercourse with him, that's what I thought I saw. I stepped back ... I didn't want to see any more."
He slammed a locker, he said, and went back to the shower a third time. Both had turned and were facing him. Mr. McQueary said he didn't go into shower or say anything -- nor did they.
Then he said he went to his office and called his father.
Mr. McQueary said his father told him to come over to talk. He did not go back to the locker room to check if Sandusky or the boy was still there, he testified.
After a long conversation at his father's house, he decided to call Mr. Paterno the next morning.
"I said coach I need to come over and see you," Mr. McQueary testified.
He took what he saw to Mr. Paterno because he thought the legendary coach would pass along the information, Mr. McQueary said.
Sitting at Mr. Paterno's kitchen table, Mr. McQueary said what he saw was "very sexual in nature."
"Out of respect" for Mr. Paterno, Mr. McQueary said, he avoided using words like "sodomy."
Later he got a call from Mr. Curley, who wanted to meet with him and Mr. Schultz. That meeting happened nine or 10 days later, Mr. McQueary said.
In that meeting, he testified, he described the locker-room encounter in detail, saying both Mr. Sandusky and the boy were naked and sexual activity was occurring.
"There's no question in my mind ... severe sexual acts were going on that were wrong and over the line," he said he told Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz.
Both Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz told him it was a serious matter, Mr. McQueary said. They said they would investigate, he said.
Asked if he thought about going to police, Mr. McQueary said he thought he had gone to "the head of the police," meaning Mr. Schultz.
A few days later, Mr. McQueary said, Mr. Curley told him the university had told Mr. Sandusky to no longer bring children to campus.
On cross-examination by an attorney for Mr. Curley, Caroline Roberto, Mr. McQueary said he never confronted Mr. Sandusky about that night in the locker room -- not that night, nor any night in the almost 10 years since.
He acknowledged again that his description to Mr. Paterno was not graphic or specific.
"I'm sure I used the word 'fondling,'" he told Ms. Roberto.
An attorney for Mr. Schultz, Tom Farrell, asked Mr. McQueary if he thought he saw a crime that night.
Yes, Mr. McQueary said.
But did he report it to police that night?
No, Mr. McQueary said.
In reporting what he saw to Mr. Schultz a week and a half later, Mr. McQueary thought he did tell police, he testified. It was, he said, "a delicate matter."
In his own brief grand jury testimony, Mr. Paterno said the allegation left him with a dilemma because Mr. Sandusky was no longer his employee.
In testimony read aloud today at the preliminary hearing, Mr. Paterno said he did what he thought was right and told Mr. Curley, but not police.
"I figured Tim would handle it appropriately," Mr. Paterno told the grand jury.
Cops not told of earlier allegation
Thomas Harmon, a former director of Penn State's university police, was the day's second witness. He testified he had told Mr. Schultz, his direct supervisor, of a 1998 incident that involved Mr. Sandusky and another boy in a shower.
Although they met frequently, Mr. Schultz did not tell him about Mr. McQueary's allegations, Mr. Harmon testified.
Under questioning from Mr. Farrell, Mr. Harmon testified that Mr. Schultz was not sworn law-enforcement personnel and handled mostly finance.
Mr. Harmon testified on cross-examination that the investigation in to the 1998 report concluded without charges filed because no one could establish a crime had occurred.
According to Mr. Schultz's grand jury testimony read aloud this afternoon, he left it to others to check out the allegations.
"I wasn't doing an investigation," Mr. Schultz told the grand jury.
He did not know which agency did investigate, thinking it was Children & Youth Services when university police prepared a 95-page report on the case.
John McQueary, Mr. McQueary's father, followed Mr. Harmon to the stand.
When his son called, his voice was quivering. He sounded scared. He said he told his son to report what he'd seen directly to Mr. Paterno.
He said he met with Mr. Schultz himself, telling him what his son saw in the locker room and reinforcing that it was sexual. Mr. Schultz responded that he was aware of the allegation and that there had been earlier "noise" about Mr. Sandusky -- but nothing investigators could "sink their teeth into," the elder Mr. McQueary testified.
After the hearing
Attorneys spoke to reporters after the hearing.
"Mr. Tim Curley has a track record of honesty, truthfulness and intergrity," said Ms. Roberto. "At the grand jury he testified consistent with his character. He told the truth."
Mr. Farrell said it was clear from the actions of all parties involved that Mr. McQueary made only "vague, general allegations of inappropriate conduct, perhaps of a sexual nature."
None of those involved, including Mr. McQueary himself and Mr. Paterno, acted with the urgency they would have shown had the allegations of forcible sex been true, he said.
"Actions speak louder than words."
"Gary should never have been charged. Gary is going to be acquitted. Have a nice weekend," he said before departing.
Mr. Costanzo criticized Penn State administrators.
"It's a sad, sad, sad day when you think about all of these victims. You just got the first taste of it today," he told reporters. "You saw the inaction today by a number of very supposedly important, responsibe adults."
Prosecutors said they expect to reinterview Mr. Paterno at some point.
Sandusky charges prompted perjury charges
Mr. Sandusky this week waived his right to a preliminary hearing on 52 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 children who were involved in The Second Mile, a nonprofit he founded in 1977, ostensibly to assist troubled youth. According to a grand jury, Mr. Sandusky used the agency to lure his victims.
Mr. Curley has been charged with perjury in repeatedly denying to the grand jury that he was told Mr. Sandusky had engaged in sexual misconduct with a child.
Mr. Schultz's testimony that the allegations concerning Mr. Sandusky were "not that serious" and that he and Mr. Curley "had no indication that a crime had occurred" also was false, Attorney General Linda Kelly charged.
Perjury is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years and a $15,000 fine. Failure to report is a summary offense with a 90-day maximum sentence and $200 fine.
One of Mr. Sandusky's attorneys, Karl E. Rominger, said on Twitter that President Judge Todd A. Hoover barred him from the courtroom because he did not participate in the seating lottery.
"His courthouse his rules," Mr. Rominger wrote. "But I think with extra space available it's not fair."
or 412-263-1868. Laura Olson and the Associated Press contributed. First Published December 16, 2011 5:00 AM