Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, accused of covering up allegations of abuse against Jerry Sandusky, was released on unsecured bail Wednesday and ordered to turn over his passport after he was arraigned by a judge in Dauphin County.
Spanier attorney Elizabeth Ainslie told reporters after the court proceeding that the charges from what the attorney general called a “conspiracy of silence” are “absolutely ridiculous.”
Spanier was indicted last week on perjury, obstruction, child endangerment, failure to report abuse and conspiracy.
“We look forward to the chance to present his side of the story in the future,” Ainslie said, declining to speak further.
District Judge William Wenner set bail at $125,000 unsecured, meaning Spanier will remain free without putting up any money or collateral and will not have to pay unless he does not show up in court. Spanier was ordered to hand over his passport and was told not to travel outside the state.
Wenner said a tentative preliminary hearing date is set for Nov. 16, but he said it is more likely to be in January.
Spanier, who was in court with his wife, Sandra, a professor of English and women’s studies at Penn State, was indicted Nov. 1. Former university administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who were already charged with perjury and failure to report abuse, were indicted on additional charges of obstruction, child endangerment and conspiracy.
Prosecutors from the state Attorney General’s Office say the men knew about abuse allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001 but did not report them to the proper authorities and tried to hide them. For instance, authorities said Schultz kept a confidential Sandusky file that included handwritten notes but did not turn that over to the grand jury.
Prosecutors also said the men lied to the grand jury about what they knew of the allegations.
The charges from the latest indictment appear to be based on evidence turned up by former FBI director Louis Freeh’s investigation. Freeh, whose investigative team was hired by the university, concluded that the men conspired to hide the allegations out of fear of bad publicity.
The attorneys for Curley and Schultz have maintained that their clients also are innocent. The two men are scheduled for trial Jan. 7, but their attorneys want to have the trial delayed.
Attorney General Linda Kelly said she wants Spanier, Curley and Schultz tried together, although Kelly will not be in charge of the case come January, when Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane takes over.
Spanier and Curley are on administrative leave, and the university will cover their legal bills. Curley’s leave will end June 30 because the university is not renewing his job. Schultz retired after the charges were announced in November 2011..