Jury selection set for administrators in Sandusky scandal

Years of delays may be coming to an end for three former Penn State officials awaiting trial.

On Wednesday, the Dauphin County court administrator’s office published orders showing a date set for jury selection for former university president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.

According to an order signed by Berks County Senior Judge John Boccabella, jury selection for the three men will take place March 20 in Dauphin County.

The three men are charged in connection with testimony given to the investigating grand jury that recommended charges against retired Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Boccabella also issued an order on a variety of pretrial filings. Among the 14 motions or petitions from defense attorneys, only one was granted. Boccabella quashed a charge of failure to report child abuse against the three men.

He denied other motions to quash the remaining charges, one count each of endangering the welfare of children. The defense argued for that in a number of ways, including being “unconstitutionally vague” and being “barred by the statute of limitations.”

Boccabella also denied motions to try the men separately and a motion from Spanier for a change of venue, meaning the trial would take place elsewhere, or a change of venire, meaning the jury would be selected from a different location.

Former Penn State football coach Sandusky was charged in 2011 and convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sex abuse crimes. Original charges against Curley and Schultz were also leveled in 2011 and first pressed against Spanier in 2012.

The case has dragged more than five years while a long list of legal challenges has played out. In January 2016, a state Supreme Court panel tossed charges of perjury, obstruction and conspiracy against Spanier and Schultz, and obstruction and conspiracy against Curley, and then-solicitor general Bruce Castor said the Office of the Attorney General would not pursue appeals of that.

The perjury charge against Curley was later dropped as well.

The orders were heralded by mixed reactions from some Penn State supporters who were glad to see the dropped charge but discouraged by the case heading toward trial.

“Save the courtroom for those connected with the Second Mile,” said Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship spokeswoman Maribeth Roman Schmidt. “For the last five years, the Office of the Attorney General has speciously tried to position Penn State and its administrators as villains in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The reality is that Sandusky used his charity, the Second Mile, as the gateway to his victims. It defies every sense of reason that those in the Second Mile who allowed him that access have not been held accountable.”

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce