Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and ex-vice president Gary Schultz entered guilty pleas Monday to child endangerment charges in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, according to The Associated Press.
Curley, 62, and Schultz, 67, could get up to five years in prison each for misdemeanor child endangerment. No sentencing date was set.
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier is scheduled to stand trial. Jury selection for the joint proceedings for all three men was slated for March 20 in Dauphin County. No new orders regarding those proceedings have been posted to the county’s website regarding the cases.
The charges arose after the three men gave testimony in 2011 to the investigating grand jury that recommended charges against Sandusky, a retired Nittany Lions football defensive coordinator. He was convicted on 45 of the 48 counts of various child sex abuse charges in 2012.
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The three former administrators oversaw a 2001 complaint by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who investigators say reported that he witnessed Sandusky sexually abuse a boy in the football program’s Lasch Building shower. The administrators did not report the incident to authorities.
Charges originally also included perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.
Curley, Schultz, Spanier and longtime Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno were the four men tarred in the university-commissioned report by former FBI director Louis Freeh as culpable in the scandal. Freeh delivered the verdict a month after Sandusky’s conviction and days before the NCAA followed up with unprecedented sanctions against the school and the football program.
The sanctions included a $60 million fine to be put toward an endowment for preventing child abuse, a loss of football scholarships, five years of probation, a four-year bowl ban, vacation of 112 wins, including 111 of Paterno’s, and the adoption of Freeh report recommendations.
Some of the sanctions, including the rescinded wins, were later reversed. Penn State did remain on the hook for a $48 million payment that stayed in Pennsylvania to benefit victims of abuse, while another $12 million was dedicated to research and study of the subject at the university.
Penn State responded to the plea agreements with the following statement, “We are, of course, deeply concerned with any action or inaction that might endanger the welfare of a child. Our focus has been, and remains, on the victims of child abuse.”
The pleas leave Spanier the last man standing.
Paterno, who was never charged, died in January 2012 after being removed from the position he had occupied since 1966. His family has sued for defamation and breach of contract, among other charges, stemming from his ousting and the publication of the Freeh report.
Sandusky maintains his innocence and is pursuing a new trial through a Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act petition. He is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence and was recently transferred from a special custody at Greene state prison in Waynesburg to a medium-security prison in Somerset.
Some see hope in the plea.
“Lost in this news is that the conspiracy charge was dropped, reinforcing that the state never had a shred of evidence to support such an outlandish claim,” said Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship spokeswoman Maribeth Roman Schmidt. “There was absolutely no coverup at Penn State.”