The judge overseeing the grand jury that investigated three Penn State administrators’ responses to child abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky will unseal documents in an effort to nudge forward the long-stalled case.
Judge Barry Feudale on Monday granted motions the defense lawyers for Tim Curley and Gary Schultz made in April to unseal their own requests to throw out the grand jury presentment as evidence against their clients. The judge already ruled on that matter — he denied it, saying he lacked jurisdiction — but the lawyers wanted to see what one another wrote since the pleadings were filed under seal.
Feudale has said the defense attorneys have delayed the case with actions such as these motions.
“The Office of Attorney General should proceed to move this case forward absent a stay by the Supreme Court,” Feudale wrote in the order. “Continued delay of this case is not in the interest of justice as to (the) (d)efendants and the alleged victims.”
Feudale gave the Attorney General’s Office three days to file a motion to reconsider his ruling and said the documents will be unsealed Friday.
Curley, Schultz and former Penn State President Graham Spanier were charged with obstruction of justice in November after what then-Attorney General Linda Kelly dubbed a “conspiracy of silence” to conceal abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago. The current attorney general, Kathleen Kane, took office in January.
A spokesman for Kane said prosecutors are aware the case must move forward.
“The attorney general is appreciative that Judge Feudale recognizes that further delays are harmful and looks forward to a fair and expeditious resolution of these cases,” spokesman Dennis Fisher said.
In a statement, Curley’s attorney, Caroline Roberto, declined to comment because the matter is about the grand jury.
Curley, Schultz and Spanier were released on bail after turning themselves in, but the case has yet to see a preliminary hearing since the charges were brought seven months ago.
One of the defense attorneys’ primary concerns in some early case pleadings was keeping former Penn State general counsel Cynthia Baldwin from testifying against their clients. The lawyers have accused Baldwin of breaking attorney-client privilege, but her lawyer said she did nothing wrong.
The perjury and failure to report abuse case, brought against Curley and Schultz in November 2011, also has been in a holding pattern since the trial was postponed indefinitely.
Feudale, in his order, postured that the defense lawyers’ motions were just a tactic to delay the case from going to court. He held the same tone in the order from April 9.
Feudale did turn down Curley’s and Schultz’s lawyers’ requests to unseal arguments and Curley’s request to unseal Baldwin’s grand jury transcript.
The lawyers for Spanier, Curley and Schultz have maintained that their clients are innocent.
Curley was placed on administrative leave, and his contract will expire this summer; Schultz retired as the senior vice president for finance and business.
Spanier was forced out, and his No. 2, Rodney Erickson, was appointed to the top post. Penn State is in the early stages of a national search for Erickson’s successor.