A judge has told the NCAA that its reasoning is flawed in an attempt to get a former Penn State administrator under oath.
Potter County Senior Judge John Leete filed an order Tuesday. In one document, he granted requests from both the NCAA and the estate of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno to file documents under seal regarding the college sports oversight organization’s attempt to question former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley. At the same time, he shot down the motion.
“Of greater concern is the request to depose Mr. Curley,” Leete wrote. “All parties have been aware of the court-ordered discovery cutoff date of April 29, 2016. Defendants claim Mr. Curley’s circumstances warrant an exception to the discovery deadline. The court disagrees.”
The circumstances in question regard Curley’s criminal case. In 2016, the parties acknowledged an impasse on his testimony after Curley’s attorney said he would invoke the Fifth Amendment and not answer questions due to his ongoing trial in Dauphin County on multiple charges stemming from grand jury testimony on Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse case.
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But on March 13, Curley entered a guilty plea to one misdemeanor count of child endangerment.
The NCAA subsequently asked the Paternos to join a motion to reopen discovery. The Paternos said no, but the NCAA pushed on, saying the Fifth Amendment issues are no longer on the table due to the plea deal.
“This reasoning fails, however, as Mr. Curley has yet to be sentenced. Until sentencing, the final status of his plea remains in question,” Leete wrote.
He also pointed to Curley’s testimony in former Penn State president Graham Spanier’s trial a week after the plea.
“Mr. Curley seemed to lack both recollection and details about conversations with Joe Paterno and others about Sandusky’s sexual activities with minors on campus,” Leete wrote. “Thus defendants are essentially speculating as to what Mr. Curley might say and seem to hope his recollection will improve from the time of the Spanier trial.”
Leete said there was no cause shown to reopen discovery.