Grand jury sheds new light on PSU officials' interactions
November 2, 2012 8:00 AM
By Paula Reed Ward Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Singled out repeatedly in the Freeh report for missteps in the investigation of a possible coverup at Penn State University, former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin is made out to be a scapegoat in the newest grand jury presentment issued Thursday by the state attorney general's office.
The document goes on for several pages explaining how ousted university president Graham Spanier directed the former state Supreme Court justice's actions, told her who she would represent and how, and even kicked her out of an executive session with Penn State trustees in such a startling fashion that the woman forgot her purse.
Ms. Baldwin's attorney, Charles DeMonaco, said he and his client would not comment.
"Cynthia Baldwin does not intend to publicly address facts and legal issues properly before the court," he said.
According to the presentment released Thursday, Mr. Spanier, who is now charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children, directed Ms. Baldwin to accompany athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president of business and finance Gary Schultz when they testified before a grand jury in January 2011.
Although she told investigators for the Freeh report that she was there to represent Penn State University, both men said during their testimony that they were represented by Ms. Baldwin.
That conflict is the subject of motions filed by both men this week in Dauphin County related to the charges against them.
Attorneys for Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz have asked Judge Todd A. Hoover to dismiss the charges against their clients, saying that Ms. Baldwin had a conflict of interest in that she was representing both Penn State and the individuals. Therefore, the men did not have adequate representation when they went before the grand jury.
"If the arrangement was otherwise, as she now claims, she had an absolute obligation to inform [Mr. Curley] of her limited scope of representation," wrote his attorney, Caroline Roberto.
"During his testimony, Ms. Baldwin did nothing to protect Mr. Curley from abusive and confusing questioning."
The grand jury presentment released Thursday also sheds new light on the working relationship between Ms. Baldwin and Mr. Spanier and what Mr. Spanier knew about the investigation.
According to the newest presentment, when Ms. Baldwin testified before the grand jury she discounted statements made by Mr. Spanier both in his own testimony and in interviews in recent months, that he did not know about the investigation into assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's conduct in 1998.
"Baldwin testified that, before this interview, Spanier was well versed and prepared for questions about the May 1998 allegations, the McQueary allegations, and the allegations of a high school student in Clinton County," the presentment said.
She further testified that it was "absolutely clear" to her that Mr. Spanier knew the substance of the testimony of Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz.
Ms. Baldwin also told the grand jury that Mr. Spanier was aware the trustees wanted information about the Sandusky matter during the grand jury investigation, and that he was permitted to talk about his testimony and the case.
At an executive session in May 2011, he told her to explain to the board about the grand jury process, and she believed he would then talk about the specifics of the Sandusky case.
"After she finished her presentation, she was stunned when Spanier immediately directed her to leave the room," the presentment said.
Members of the board later told her that Mr. Spanier did not tell them anything about the grand jury investigation of Sandusky or Penn State's involvement.
In November 2011, the grand jury charged Sandusky with sexually abusing several boys over a span of 15 years, all of whom he met through The Second Mile, a nonprofit he founded in 1977 for at-risk youth.