Spanier to grand jury: ‘I’m not aware’ of 1998 Sandusky incident

mdawson@centredaily.comJuly 30, 2013 

  • Alleged false statements

    • Spanier denying he knew of 1998 incident

    • Spanier denying that he, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz discussed contacting a child protection agency in 2001

    • Spanier describing the 2001 incident as horseplay

— Some Penn State officials knew Jerry Sandusky was the subject of a police investigation in 1998.

For instance, the university police chief at the time, Thomas Harmon, got the report from a detective. He testified to that this week.

Harmon reported it to his supervisor, Gary Schultz, who was the senior vice president for finance and business. Schultz took notes about it.

But Graham Spanier, then president of Penn State, told a grand jury 13 years later that he knew nothing of that incident, which was investigated but closed after then-district attorney Ray Gricar decided not to file charges.

Prosecutors don’t believe that, and it’s one of the statements they say Spanier made while lying under oath during his testimony April 13, 2011, in front of the grand jury.

For the first time, the Attorney General’s Office revealed Spanier’s full grand jury testimony on Tuesday to support the perjury charge during a preliminary hearing for him and two other colleagues.

Prosecutor Bruce Beemer suggested Tuesday that Spanier, as president of a large university, would have to have been informed of an issue that involved someone as high-profile as Sandusky.

If he weren’t told about it, Beemer said, that meant Schultz would be “negligent” in doing his job.

“I have no information that Mr. Schultz or Mr. Curley had any knowledge in 1998,” Spanier said, according to the grand jury testimony transcript. “I don’t know if they did or they did not. If they did, they would have brought to it my attention.

“I certainly did not have anything brought to my attention.”

The prosecutor has another reason for not believing Spanier.

They say there’s a record of emails in 1998 with Spanier’s name included.

He was carbon-copied on emails May 6, 1998, and June 9, 1998.

His defense lawyer has contended that Spanier was only copied on the emails and, regarding the latter one, the lawyer said Spanier was in London when it was sent.

According to the grand jury testimony, Spanier said the 2001 Sandusky incident was described to him as “horsing around” or “horseplay.”

There was no indication it was sexual in nature, he testified.

“What was reported was not a report of any activity that was sexual in nature. I know better than to jump to conclusions about things like that,” Spanier said during his testimony.

Spanier testified he made the assumption the child in the 2001 incident was one of Sandusky’s Second Mile youths, and he and Curley and Schultz came up with a plan in response to the incident: tell Sandusky not to bring minors into university facilities and notify the chairman of The Second Mile board.

That was the last Spanier heard of the situation until nine years later, he testified, which was when a newspaper reporter emailed him to see if he knew about a criminal investigation into Sandusky.

Prosecutors allege Spanier lied when he told them there was no discussion about reporting the 2001 incident to police or child protection authorities. The prosecution points to the email conversations between Curley, Schultz and Spanier in which they considered that course of action.

Spanier was asked at the grand jury if the 2001 incident prompted any discussions about “adverse consequences” on Penn State. He replied no.

Spanier also was asked why the 1998 and 2001 incidents were handled differently.

“I’m not aware of allegations against Mr. Sandusky in 1998 nor am I, therefore, aware of how they were handled if there were such allegations,” Spanier said, according to the transcript.

Spanier’s grand jury testimony, read via transcript, lasted almost an hour and 20 minutes.

Former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin accompanied Spanier to the grand jury, and Spanier said she represented him.

According to the transcript, Baldwin interjected at one point during the proceeding to distinguish between Penn State’s university police force and the State College municipal police department.

Baldwin also listened to Curley’s and Schultz’s grand jury testimony, and she later testified at the grand jury against the three men.

The lawyers for Spanier, Curley and Schultz have asked the judge to dismiss the charges based on her testimony, saying Baldwin violated attorney-client privilege.

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