A former Penn State police chief testified Monday that he thought the university’s leadership would have been kept in the loop about a shower incident involving Jerry Sandusky in 1998.
Thomas Harmon was called to the stand as a prosecution witness during the preliminary hearing for former Penn State leaders Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who are facing obstruction of justice, child endangerment, conspiracy and other related charges in connection with an alleged cover-up of Sandusky’s abuse.
Harmon’s testimony mostly pertained to Schultz.
Harmon testified about his involvement as authorities at the university were discussing how to handle the 1998 incident, which came from the mother of a young boy who’d been in a shower with Sandusky after a workout.
The prosecution set out to show that Schultz was well aware of the nature of the allegation, and prosecuting attorney Bruce Beemer showed a series of emails among Harmon, Schultz and Curley. The emails were the same ones revealed in the Freeh report.
Schultz and Harmon wrote to one another several times in May 1998, with Schultz thanking Harmon for updates.
In one of the emails, Schultz after being updated from Harmon: “Good, Tom. Thanks for the update and I agree that we want to resolve quickly.”
Harmon testified the “we” in that Schultz used referred to university administrators.
The incident was determined not to have been criminal in nature, and Schultz sent out an email in June with confirmation.
Spanier was copied on that email.
Beemer, the prosecutor, asked if the notes that Schultz took were reflective of what Harmon told him, and Harmon said yes.
But when Beemer asked if Harmon used the phrase about the report opening a “Pandora’s box,” which was written in the notes, Harmon said he’s not sure if that was him.
Harmon testified he thought all leaders would have been in the loop about the potential risk for bad publicity if the incident got out.
“I would have believed at the time Mr. Schultz was keeping the president and the athletic director apprised of the nature of the incident and the status of the investigation,” Harmon said.
But Harmon testified he never heard anything about a now-infamous 2001 shower incident involving Sandusky.
Harmon said he got an email from Schultz in February 2001 asking if the police report from the 1998 Sandusky incident was available. Harmon said it was.
“I would have remembered even if he had suggested there had been another incident,” Harmon said.
Harmon also testified that if he had known about there was a second shower incident, it would have been “sufficiently suspicious” enough to warrant another look.
The 1998 incident was reported on the university’s daily public crime log as an administrative matter.
Harmon testified it was his decision, not Schultz’s, to use that terminology in an effort to shield it from media attention.
When asked how the incident would have been listed on the log, Harmon said it would not have included Sandusky’s name.