Three top officials, who formerly held high positions at Penn State University, will be facing trial on charges that they protected Jerry Sandusky even though they knew he sexually abused children.
The charges include perjury, child endangerment, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, and failure to properly report suspected abuse. The trial is expected to take place next year. State prosecutors named Penn State President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz, and former Athletic Director Tim Curley as the defendents.
Sandusky was an assistant football coach at Penn State. He is now serving a 30- to 60-year term in a state prison. He was convicted of 45 criminal counts of sexual molestation of 10 boys over a 15-year period.The alleged abuse was carried out in hotel rooms, university showers, and in his home. Sandusky says he is innocent and is appealing the conviction.
At the hearing, prosecutors used the example of two incidents of sexual abuse by Sandusky and what the officials said they knew about them. Assistant football coach Mike McQueary testified Monday that he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the showers in February 2001. He reported the incident to Mr. Schultz, Mr. Curley, and late head coach Joe Paterno. Schultz and Curley claim they didn't understand the incident was sexual; Mr. Spanier has said didn't know all the details.
FBI Director Louis Freeh, investigating the incident, found e-mails in which the three men discussed how to respond to the incident. Prosecutors have made the e-mails a central part of their case.
Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted at least two other children following the 2001 incident. If the officials would have taken immediate action, these and subsequent assaults of five different boys that took place between 1998 and 2001 could have been avoided.
Spanier was forced out as president in late 2011 and is on administrative leave. Curley was placed on leave to serve out his contract, and Schultz is retired. Two weeks ago, Penn State's board of trustees authorized the payment of about $60 million to settle claims made by the dozens of victims of Jerry Sandusky.