A change in the timeline of the Jerry Sandusky case will likely lead to one of two charges being dismissed against two Penn State administrators, legal experts contend.
The experts are weighing in after prosecutors said last week the infamous incident when Mike McQueary walked in on Sandusky in a campus shower with a boy happened in 2001, not 2002.
The incident ultimately led to Joe Paterno’s firing and criminal charges being filed against Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the former administrators now fighting criminal charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse.
Prosecutors charged Curley and Schultz with failing to properly report suspected child abuse, saying the charges met statute of limitations requirements because the alleged incident happened in March 2002.
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Now that prosecutors have amended the date of the shower incident to February 2001, attorneys for Curley and Schultz said the case should be dismissed.
“Based on the prosecution’s own pleading, the statute of limitations is 10 years from the event,” Tom Farrell, Schultz’s lawyer, said in a statement Friday.
The state Attorney General’s Office declined comment on whether the date change means the charge will be dismissed.
Jules Epstein, an associate law professor at Widener University and an expert in criminal law, said statutes of limitation are absolute.
“Once they expire, a charge cannot be revived, even if the legislature later changes (expands) the time period,” Epstein told the Centre Daily Times on Saturday.
While Epstein has not done his own calculations, he said if the incident occurred in 2001, and the statute of limitations expired before charges were brought, then the charge pertaining to that event must be dropped.
University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris predicted the failure-to-report part of the case will soon be dropped.
Barb Zemlock, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said prosecutors should move to withdraw charges they can’t pursue.
The failure-to-report charges, classified as summary offenses, carry up to 90 days in jail and a $200 fine.
Curley and Schultz also face felony perjury charges stemming from their testimony before a grand jury early last year.
At a preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz, McQueary testified about the shower incident. Mc- Queary, a member of the coaching staff, was a graduate assistant at the time.
On Nov. 9, Paterno was terminated as head coach for not following up on the report he got from Mc- Queary and that he reported to his superior, Curley, the athletic director.
Curley remains on administrative leave and Schultz retired as a senior vice president for finance and business. Both are awaiting trial in Dauphin County. They’re next scheduled for a status conference June 1.
Curley and Schultz have both filed papers arguing all charges should be dropped due to lack of evidence. Curley’s attorney has argued that without Paterno’s testimony, the state doesn’t have a case.