Seven years before a state grand jury began investigating a boy’s report that he had been sexually assaulted by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, university officials were told by an eyewitness that Sandusky sexually assaulted a boy in a shower room on campus.
The revelation, and the events that followed, was the basis for charges of perjury filed against two Penn State officials, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, 57, and Gary Schultz, 62, interim senior vice president for finance and business at Penn State, are charged with perjury, a felony, and a summary offense of failure to report, a violation of the Child Protective Services Law.
The charges are punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
“One of the most compelling and disturbing pieces of testimony in this investigation came from an eyewitness to a late-night sexual assault that allegedly occurred in March of 2002, in the locker room of the Lasch Football Building on the University Park campus,” said Attorney General Linda Kelly.
“Hearing what sounded like sexual activity in the showers of a building that was supposed to be empty, a graduate assistant reportedly observed Sandusky sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old.”
The assistant telephoned head football coach Joe Paterno at home the next morning to report what he had seen. Paterno, in testimony before the grand jury, said he called Curley and met with him the next day.
Curley and Schultz, whose job at Penn State includes oversight of university police, met with the graduate assistant about a week and a half later, and was told what he had witnessed, according to Kelly.
“Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law,” Kelly said in a news release. “Additionally, there is no indication that anyone from the university ever attempted to learn the identity of the child who was sexually assaulted on their campus or made any follow-up effort to obtain more information from the person who witnessed the attack firsthand.”
Instead, Kelly said Curley and Schultz agreed that Sandusky would be barred from bringing any Second Mile children into the football building, and passed that message onto Jack Raykovitz, who is currently president and CEO of the Second Mile.
Penn State President Graham Spanier, Kelly said in the news release, reviewed and approved the ban without any further inquiry. Sandusky’s access to campus facilities — including an office in the Lasch building and unlimited access to all football facilities — remained unchanged.
Schultz acknowledged to the grand jury that he was aware of a 1998 Penn State police investigation into allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior involving Sandusky and young boys in the football showers, but did not pursue the matter, which had not resulted in any criminal charges.
The grand jury found that Curley committed perjury when he repeatedly denied to the grand jury that he had ever been told that Sandusky had engaged in sexual misconduct with a child.
Schultz made assertions that the allegations concerning Sandusky were “not that serious” and that he and Curley “had no indication that a crime had occurred,” according to the attorney general’s news release.
The attorneys representing Schultz and Curley each issued statements Saturday saying their clients are innocent.
Steve Garban, chairman of the Penn State board of trustees, said Saturday that Curley and Schultz are people of “high integrity, high principles and ethics beyond reproach.”
“Clearly, I for one as a person stand behind them,” said Garban, who’s known the men for 30 years. “I don’t think they would do anything that wouldn’t be honest and full of integrity and compassion.”
The Attorney General’s Office, however, was scathing in its account of the incident.
“The failure of top university officials to act on reports of Sandusky’s alleged sexual misconduct, even after it was reported to them in graphic detail by an eyewitness, allowed a predator to walk free for years — continuing to target new victims,” Kelly said in the release. “Equally disturbing is the lack of action and apparent lack of concern among those same officials, and others who received information about this case, who either avoided asking difficult questions or chose to look the other way.”