Former Penn State officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier were all sentenced to jail time Friday for failing to alert authorities to the allegations against ex-football coach Jerry Sandusky, allowing the now-convicted serial predator to continue molesting boys for years.
All three were convicted of child endangerment. Schultz, the former university vice president, could serve a minimum of two months in jail and a maximum of 23 months. Curley, the former university athletic director, could serve a minimum of three months in jail and maximum of 23 months. And Spanier, the former university president, could serve a minimum of two months and a maximum of 12 months. All three are also poised to have house arrest after the jail time.
Prosecutors in the case argued that the ex-Penn State staffers failed as leaders and cared more about themselves and the school’s image than protecting the children. Judge John Boccabella in the case called it a “Shakespearean tragedy” and was befuddled by the former administrators lack of action.
“These men are good people who made a terrible mistake,” the judge said. “Why no one made a phone call to police … is beyond me.
“All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to (Sandusky’s) crimes when they had a chance to do so."
The three former Penn State officials all apologized for their actions and to Sandusky’s victims before the sentences were handed down.
“I deeply regret I didn’t intervene more forcefully,” Spanier said, expressing remorse, in reference to Sandusky’s victims. Spanier will appeal a misdemeanor of child endangerment charge that both Schultz and Curley pleaded guilty on.
Curley and Schultz also told the court they were sorry they didn’t do more.
“I am very remorseful I did not comprehend the severity of the situation. I sincerely apologize to the victims and to all who were impacted because of my mistake,” Curley said.
Said Schultz: “It really sickens me to think I might have played a part in children being hurt. I’m sorry that I didn’t do more, and I apologize to the victims.”
Sandusky is serving a 30 to 60-year prison term after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys.
Prosecutors slammed all three men, saying they cared more about themselves than about protecting children.
They reserved their harshest words for Spanier.
“He was a complete and utter failure as a leader when it mattered most,” said Laura Ditka, a state prosecutor.
Spanier’s trial revolved around testimony by an ex-graduate coaching assistant, Mike McQueary, who said he reported seeing Sandusky molesting a boy in 2001.
Sandusky was not arrested until 2011, after an anonymous email to a county prosecutor led investigators to approach McQueary. Sandusky was found guilty the next year of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years while he appeals his conviction. At least four victims at Sandusky’s trial said they were molested after 2001.
The scandal led to the firing of beloved football coach Joe Paterno shortly after Sandusky’s arrest, and he died of cancer two months later at the age of 85.
The Hall of Fame coach was never charged with a crime, but a report commissioned by the university concluded he was part of an effort to keep a lid on the allegations against Sandusky for fear of bad publicity.
Penn State’s football program suffered heavy sanctions from the NCAA, and the university has paid out nearly a quarter-billion dollars in fines, court verdicts, settlements and other costs.
McQueary testified about how he went to Paterno a day after the shower encounter to discuss what he had seen. Paterno notified Curley and Schultz, and McQueary met with both of them about a week later. In his 2011 grand jury testimony, Paterno said he was told by McQueary the encounter involved “fondling” and was of “a sexual nature,” but wasn’t sure what the act was.
The prosecution’s key evidence included notes and email exchanges in which Curley, Schultz and Spanier debated what to do after McQueary’s report.
Contributing: The Associated Press