The Office of Attorney General is not going to appeal a ruling that dropped some charges against former Penn State leaders.
According to an announcement from Attorney General Kathleen Kane, her office will not pursue an appeal of the state Supreme Court ruling from January. That was when a panel tossed the perjury, obstruction and conspiracy counts against former university president Graham Spanier and former vice president Gary Schultz, as well as obstruction and conspiracy against former athletic director Tim Curley.
That leaves failure to report suspected abuse and endangering the welfare of children charges against all three and a perjury count against Curley remaining in Dauphin County. The charges stem from the grand jury proceedings against retired Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
“The attorney general accepts the opinion of the Solicitor General and, in response thereto, orders that no further resources of the Commonwealth be expended to pursue a possible appeal,” the OAG said in a release.
The solicitor general, Montgomery County lawyer and former district attorney Bruce Castor, was appointed in March.
Castor’s findings were also released, acknowledging the Supreme Court’s decision and the argument Curley, Schultz and Spanier’s attorneys have made for years about just who represented them at the time.
He placed the responsibility on both the prosecution and the supervising judge, Barry Feudale.
“The commonwealth and the supervising judge of the grand jury that recommended charges against the three defendants failed to adequately ensure that the record was clearly established that Cynthia Baldwin, Esq., represented The Pennsylvania State University and not the defendants personally,” the findings read.
“The Grand Jury Act allows only certain persons in the room while a grand jury is in session. Among those persons is the counsel for the witness. This creates a legal presumption that Cynthia Baldwin, Esq., acted as personal counsel for all three defendants when she appeared with them during questioning before the investigating grand jury,” Castor’s opinion went on.
He blamed the attorneys and judge for not creating a record of the proceedings that allowed the OAG to show that the three men understood Baldwin’s role.
Castor said he did not want to proceed and create a precedent that could hurt the ability to use grand juries in the future.
“Such a risk weighs against approving a request to appeal to the Supreme Court,” the opinion said.
Castor was “extremely conflicted” about the decision.
In a statement, Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship said it was “pleased” by Kane’s decision.
“From the outset, our members have questioned why Penn State administrators have been held responsible for the errors made by administrators of Sandusky’s charity, The Second Mile. We hope that the elimination of this distraction, along with the eventual dismissal of the baseless mandatory reporting and child endangerment charges, will turn the conversation towards making Pennsylvania children truly safer,” the group said. “That begins with an official, formal investigation into The Second Mile, the nonprofit that was founded by a now-convicted preferential child sexual offender. And it continues with a closer look at how such an offender could hide in plain sight, escaping the scrutiny of county and state licensed child welfare professionals, child protection advocates, Child Protective Services and ChildLine. ...
“This was never a Penn State problem. It was — and still is — a state of Pennsylvania problem.”
None of the three men have worked at Penn State since 2011. Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sex crimes in 2012, he but continues to maintain his innocence while incarcerated at Greene state prison.
Castor is known in Centre County for his representation of District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, including being sworn in as a deputy DA.