Preliminary hearings to start for 2 in Sandusky scandal
Share with others:
HARRISBURG -- Two top Penn State University officials face their preliminary hearing today on charges of perjury and failure to report child abuse in the Jerry Sandusky case.
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 after Mr. Sandusky was charged, each face one count of perjury and one count of failure to report.
Their hearing will be in the Dauphin County Courthouse before District Judge William C. Wenner, who will decide whether the two will stand trial in the case. Attorneys for both defendants have said they are innocent.
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, former assistant football coach at Penn State, used the agency to lure his victims.
The charges against Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz stem from an incident in March 2002, when a Penn State graduate assistant -- since identified as now-assistant football coach Mike McQueary -- entered a university locker room and allegedly witnessed Mr. Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in the shower.
According to state Attorney General Linda Kelly, Mr. McQueary reported what he saw to his father and then to Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. Mr. Paterno met with Mr. Curley, telling him what Mr. McQueary had reported.
About 10 days later, Mr. McQueary was called to a meeting with Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz and again reported what he had seen, according to a grand jury.
"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Ms. Kelly said in announcing the charges last month.
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, the attorney general 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.
Mr. McQueary, who has maintained public silence since the charges were announced, is a possible witness at today's hearing. To hold the defendants for trial, prosecutors must only present a "prima facie" case -- evidence that, if accepted as true, would show that the crimes were committed. That burden is substantially less than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold of a trial.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, Mr. Schultz's lawyer, Thomas Farrell, and Mr. Curley's counsel, Caroline Roberto, said: "Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz look forward to the preliminary hearing to start the process of clearing their good names and demonstrating that they testified truthfully to the grand jury."
Members of the media reporting on the hearings today will be permitted to tweet, email and text live from the courtroom.
Dauphin County Common Pleas President Judge Todd A. Hoover Thursday issued an order modifying rules set in place last week for the hearings.
Six national media outlets including ABC, The Associated Press and the New York Times sought changes in the rules to allow reporting in real-time from the courtroom.
The new, less restrictive rules will allow reporters to use laptops and handheld devices in the courtroom when the men appear before District Judge Wenner.
Media outlets will not be able to use audio, video or still photography from the courtroom.
In related news, Penn State has requested additional time to respond to questions asked by NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Penn State Vice President and General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin said that, in the course of conversation with the NCAA on this matter, "it became evident that the questions being asked in your letter might be answered in the course of the investigations currently in progress."
First Published December 16, 2011 12:00 am