Ex-Penn State president Spanier arraigned

Defense attorney disputes charges

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HARRISBURG -- Former Penn State University president Graham Spanier was arraigned Wednesday in what the Pennsylvania attorney general has called a "conspiracy of silence" among school administrators in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

The proceeding took only minutes as Judge William Wenner set bail at $125,000 and explained Mr. Spanier, 64, would have to surrender his passport, undergo fingerprinting and remain within Pennsylvania unless he was granted permission to travel. Mr. Spanier approached the bench to sign paperwork. Afterward, he and his wife drove off in a gray sedan without answering questions shouted from the reporters and cameramen waiting outside.

Mr. Spanier had led the state's flagship public university for more than 16 years when he resigned last November after Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was arrested on charges of sexually abusing children. The longtime president was a prominent figure credited with leading Penn State's transformation from a regional institution to an elite research university.

He had been criticized along with other administrators in the report released this summer by former FBI director Louis Freeh on the university's involvement with the Sandusky case, but unlike former vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, Mr. Spanier had not been charged. That changed last week, when Attorney General Linda Kelly revealed he would be charged with eight criminal counts, including perjury, endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and failure to report suspected child abuse.

Ms. Kelly also announced new charges against Mr. Schultz and Mr. Curley, whose attorneys disputed the allegations after an arraignment last week. At the proceeding Wednesday, Judge Wenner said he penciled in a date for a preliminary hearing later this month but believes it will likely take place in January.

Outside the courthouse, reporters asked defense attorney Elizabeth Ainslie about Ms. Kelly's claim that Mr. Spanier and former colleagues had engaged in a "conspiracy of silence."

"That is ridiculous," Ms. Ainslie said. "Dr. Spanier was never given a chance to speak to this grand jury, to give his side of the story."

She said Mr. Spanier is not guilty of the charges and that his attorneys look forward to presenting his case.

In June, Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of child sex abuse. He was transferred last week to the state prison in Waynesburg to serve his sentence of 30 to 60 years.

education - state - psusports

Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141.


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