Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was not aware of child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky, according to a statement his attorneys issued Tuesday.
Spanier told that to members of the Louis Freeh investigative team, whom he spoke with at length Friday, his attorneys said. Spanier, they said, requested that interview.
In the statement, Spanier’s attorneys Peter Vaira from Vaira & Riley, and Elizabeth Ainslie from Schnader Harrison Segel & Lewis, criticized recent leaks to the media for creating what they called an incomplete, unfair picture.
“Selected leaks, without the full context, are distorting the public record and creating a false picture,” Vaira and Ainslie said.
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“At no time in the more than 16 years of his presidency at Penn State was Dr. Spanier told of an incident involving Jerry Sandusky that described child abuse, sexual misconduct or criminality of any kind, and he reiterated that during his interview with Louis Freeh and his colleagues.”
Parts of an email exchange between Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and retired senior vice president Gary Schultz have been the subject of national media reports.
The leaked emails leave the impression that in 2001 the three discussed how to respond to a report from Mike McQueary that he walked in on Sandusky in a shower with a boy. The emails also leave the impression that after talking with Joe Paterno, Curley thought it would be best to speak with Sandusky directly, rather than go to authorities.
The parts of the emails that were leaked don’t refer to Sandusky by name or describe the specifics of the incident.
Spanier filed a suit against the university to get it to turn over emails from more than 10 years ago, which he said would help him respond to questions from the Freeh investigators. The university, citing the state attorney general’s ongoing investigation, said it could not provide those emails to him.
In the statement issued Tuesday, Spanier’s attorneys say he requested the interview with the Freeh team despite the refusal to let him see those emails.
His attorneys said that because the Freeh interview has taken place, they will revisit the lawsuit.
Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @AnneDanahy