Was Penn State's former president part of a 'conspiracy of silence'? (+video)
Penn State University's former president Graham Spanier became the highest ranking official charged in the Sandusky sex abuse scandal on Thursday. Two other formerly high-ranking Penn State officials face similar charges.
A grand jury has charged former Penn State President Graham Spanier with participating in a "conspiracy of silence" to cover up child sex abuse by former football coach Jerry Sandusky, Pennsylvania's attorney general said on Thursday.Skip to next paragraph
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The highest-ranking Pennsylvania State University official charged in the explosive case, Spanier, 64, was accused of child endangerment, perjury and criminal conspiracy, all felonies. He also faces misdemeanor counts of failure to report suspected abuse, conspiracy and obstruction of the administration of law.
"This is not a mistake, an oversight or a misjudgment. This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials at Penn State, working to actively conceal the truth, with total disregard to the suffering of children," Attorney General Linda Kelly told a news conference.
Two other officials, Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Vice President Gary Schultz, also face new charges of child endangerment, criminal conspiracy and obstruction. They were charged in November 2011 with failure to report suspected abuse and perjury, and both have pleaded not guilty.
Sandusky, 68, a former assistant coach in Penn State's powerhouse football program, was convicted in June of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period in a scandal that rocked college sports and focused national attention on child sex abuse.
He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, effectively a life sentence.
Trustees fired Spanier and revered head football coach Joe Paterno in November 2011 in the wake of the charges against Sandusky. Paterno died in January.
Spanier, Curley and Schultz, whose job included heading the university police, are accused of concealing information about suspected abuse involving Sandusky, Kelly said.
The abuse included on-campus incidents in 1998 and 2001 that the three men discussed in detail, she said.
Kelly said a grand jury issued a subpoena in December 2010 but relevant emails and other evidence were not turned over until April 2012, after the three men had left their jobs.
Schultz kept a file about the 1998 and 2001 incidents involving Sandusky at his campus office and told staff members never to look in the file, Kelly said.
It was removed from the office on the day charges against Sandusky were announced and delivered to Schultz's home.