Penn State officials will stand trial over the child sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Judge Wenner ruled that they will be tried in their role in a cover-up of the former football coach’s crimes. He called it a “tragic day for Penn State University, to say the least.”
Former President Graham Spanier and former Senior Vice President Gary Schultz will face trial for their involvement in the Sandusky scandal. Former Athletic Director Tim Curley will also stand trial. CNN reports that state prosecutors claim that all three officials were aware of at least two allegations leveled against Sandusky between 1998 and 2001.
The announcement came after a two-day hearing when Judge Wenner decided there was enough evidence to have a trial. Prosecutor Bruce Beemer said the three were part of a “conspiracy of silence” and must not be denied a trial “because their conspiracy worked for ten years.”
Prosecutors point to one incident in 2001. That year Mike McQueary, former Penn State assistant coach, saw Sandusky molest a boy in a school shower. New York Times reports that during the Sandusky trial, McQueary said under oath that he had reported the incident to former coach Joe Paterno, as well as Curley and Schultz.
Emails were revealed to prove this true. Messages were sent between Spanier, Schultz, and Curley in 2001 discussing what McQueary had told them. They agreed to confront Sandusky themselves instead of reporting the incidents.
One email written by former Penn State President Graham Spanier said that “the only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.” Other emails also show Spanier had been aware of other allegations against Sandusky as early as 1998.
Spanier has testified before a grand jury saying that he was not aware of these incidents.
Last year former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.