Attorney General addresses Penn State's Sandusky scandal
Share with others:
HARRISBURG -- Speaking publicly for the first time since her office announced charges against three high-ranking Penn State officials in a case centered around the sexual abuse of children, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly drew a distinction between the university's football coach and its president.
Ms. Kelly fielded questions today about what responsibility university president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno bear for charges that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted at least eight children and accusations that two administrators failed to report the incidents to law enforcement.
Ms. Kelly described Mr. Paterno, who was told of at least one incident by a graduate assistant, as being "cooperative" with prosecutors. He is not viewed as a target at this point, she said.
"Mr. Paterno has been interviewed by the investigators -- you can see that he has testified in the grand jury, that he reported this to individuals in the administration ... as far as what occurred that night," Ms. Kelly said.
She added: "We believe that under the statute he had a responsibility to report it to school administrators, and he did that."
Similar inquires about the fate of Penn State's president, who according to prosecutors and the grand jury presentment approved of a decision by athletic director Tim Curley and former senior vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz to ban Mr. Sandusky from using university facilities, garnered only a brief response.
"This is an on-going continuing investigation," Ms. Kelly said.
Ms. Kelly urged anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact investigators from the Office of Attorney General at 814-863-1053 or Pennsylvania State Police at 814-470-2238.
Less than an hour later, Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz were arraigned in Dauphin County on charges of perjury and failing to report an assault on campus of one boy after being told about it by Mr. Paterno, who heard about it from a graduate assistant in 2002. That assault occurred in a locker room shower, according to the grand jury presentment.
Neither Mr. Curley nor Mr. Schultz entered a plea during today's 20-minute hearing. Lawyers for Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz insisted that they will be found innocent at trial.
They were each released on $75,000 unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing is expected to be held later this month.
Mr. Curley was represented by attorney Caroline Roberto of Pittsburgh. Mr. Schultz was represented by attorney Thomas J. Farrell, also of Pittsburgh.
The two attorneys asked that their clients not be required to post any bail, saying they were model citizens who lived their entire lives in Centre County.
District Judge William Wenner said, however, that "The charges are disturbing to me to say the least."
After setting their bond, he ordered both of them to surrender their passports.
Ms. Roberto said the failure to report a child endangerment is a "summary offense, like a speeding ticket."
She said Mr. Curley had done everything required of him, including reporting the 2002 shower incident to his superior, Mr. Spanier.
"Everything will show he reported what he knew up the chain of the command," she said.
She and Mr. Farrell said the perjury charge is the "last resort" of prosecutors.
"They file the charge when they can't prove the person did anything wrong," Ms. Roberto said. "It's a distraction in this case. It's unconscionable. They have a weak case."
The charges against Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz relate to statements they made before a grand jury in Dauphin County in January.
Mr. Curley asked to be placed on paid administrative leave and Mr. Schultz will step down and return to retirement, Mr. Spanier said Sunday.
Mr. Sandusky, whose alleged crimes are said to have occurred in Centre County, will be prosecuted there. He's awaiting a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
A statement by The Second Mile, which runs programs for at risk children and which Mr. Sandusky founded, said its chief executive officer, Jack Raykovitz, testified at the investigating grand jury that he had been told by Mr. Curley in 2002 that an internal investigation had found no corroboration for an allegation of inappropriate contact by Mr. Sandusky with a youth in a locker room.
"Subsequently, in November 2008, Mr. Sandusky informed The Second Mile that he had learned he was being investigated as a result of allegations made against him by an adolescent male in Clinton County, Pa.," the statement reads. "Although he maintained there was no truth to the claims, we are an organization committed first and foremost to the safety and well-being of the children we serve.
"Consistent with that commitment and with The Second Mile policy, we immediately made the decision to separate him from all of our program activities involving children. Thus, from 2008 to present, Mr. Sandusky has had no involvement with Second Mile programs involving children."
The organization said to its knowledge all the alleged illegal incidents occurred outside of its programs and events, though Mr. Sandusky met the boys he is charged with sexually abusing through the program, according to the grand jury presentment.
"The newly released details and the breadth of the allegations from the Attorney General's office bring shock, sadness and concern from The Second Mile organization," the statement reads. "Our prayers, care and compassion go out to all impacted."
First Published November 7, 2011 3:51 pm