Attorneys for former Penn State University president Graham Spanier issued a statement defending their client, who was charged in Harrisburg today on counts related to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse investigation.
Spanier, 64, was charged with perjury, child endangerment and obstruction of justice today.
Spanier’s atttorneys, Timothy K. Lewis and Elizabeth Ainslie, of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, and Peter F. Vaira and Jack Riley, of Vaira & Riley PC, issued the following statement:
"Today’s Presentment is the latest desperate act by Governor Tom Corbett to cover up and divert attention away from the fact that he failed to warn the Penn State community about the suspicions surrounding Jerry Sandusky, and instead knowingly allowed a child predator to roam free in Pennsylvania. Its timing speaks volumes.
"These charges are the work of a vindictive and politically motivated Governor working through an un-elected attorney general, Linda Kelly, whom he appointed to do his bidding and who will be a lame duck five days from now.
"There is no factual basis to support these charges, which may explain why the Attorney General and her staff have steadfastly refused – for a full year – to meet with Dr. Spanier or his lawyers to discuss this matter despite repeated attempts to do so, or to accept Dr. Spanier’s offer to appear before the grand jury again to clarify any misconceptions.
"From late 2008 through November of 2011, as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Tom Corbett clearly knew about the allegations against Jerry Sandusky and yet failed to act. And this failure allowed Sandusky to continue to harm children for nearly three years after he could have and should have been warned, stopped or indicted. The Governor’s legally indefensible explanations, repeated by Attorney General Kelly at her news conference today – that he couldn’t expose Sandusky for fear of compromising an ongoing grand jury investigation or that he needed more evidence – are patently absurd.
"And so, on the one hand, Corbett had access to detailed allegations about Sandusky’s child abuse and, as the chief law enforcement officer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, allowed it to continue. On the other, Dr. Spanier was not privy to any details about a 1998 investigation that actually exonerated Sandusky and then, in 2001, was told only about an incident characterized as “horseplay”.
"Governor Corbett has made no secret of his personal hostility toward Dr. Spanier, as many witnesses will attest. He is now manipulating public officials and resources to settle a personal score. Linda Kelly’s willingness to continue this farce, on behalf of the politically motivated Governor who appointed her, apparently knows no bounds. She has already been put on notice by both candidates for Attorney General, one of whom will replace her, that they intend to review her investigation thoroughly. For her to deny, as she did a few minutes ago, that politics played no role in these charges being made five days before an election, is patently false. Graham Spanier has committed no crime and looks forward to the opportunity to clear his good name and well-earned national reputation for integrity. This Presentment is a politically motivated frame-up of an innocent man. And if these charges ever come to trial, we will prove it.
"The people of this Commonwealth, and the next Attorney General, should be outraged by this blatantly political, transparently vindictive, last-minute act of cowardice and desperation."