Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, 68, former university athletic director Tim Curley, 63, and former vice president Gary Shultz, 67, were all sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to alert authorities to a 2001 allegation against ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
“Why Mr. Sandusky was allowed to continue to the Penn State facilities is beyond me,” Judge John Boccabella said.
“All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to (Sandusky’s) crimes when they a chance to do so,” the judge continued.
Spanier was sentenced to 4 to 12 months, with the first two to be spent in jail and the rest under house arrest. Curley was handed a sentence of 7 to 23 months, with three months to be spent in jail. Schultz was given 6 to 23 months, with two months in jail.
The late Joe Paterno, who served as head coach from 1966 to 2011, was also a target of the judge’s criticism. Paterno also failed to notify child-welfare officials or police about the 2011 complaint, but was never charged with a crime.
Paterno “could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn’t is beyond me,” Bocabella said.
The three former Penn State officials apologized for their lack of action and to Sandusky’s victims prior to hearing their sentences.
“I deeply regret that I did not intervene more forcefully,” Spanier said
Curley and Schultz also told the court they were sorry they didn’t do more.
“I am very remorseful I did not comprehend the severity of the situation. I sincerely apologize to the victims and to all who were impacted because of my mistake,” Curley said.
Said Schultz: “It really sickens me to think I might have played a part in children being hurt. I’m sorry that I didn’t do more, and I apologize to the victims.”
Prosecutors ripped all three, blaming their selfishness as the reason they did not protect children. They particularly singled out Spanier.
“He was a complete and utter failure as a leader when it mattered most,” said Laura Ditka, a state prosecutor.
She said he kept Penn State trustees in the dark about the Sandusky complaint and “he allowed children to be harmed.”
Despite the initial complaint coming in 2001, Jerry Sandusky was not arrested until 2011. At the time, an anonymous email to a county prosecutor led investigators to question ex-graduate coaching assistant Mike McQueary, who said he reported seeing Sandusky molesting a boy in 2001. Sandusky was found guilty the next year of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years while he appeals his conviction. At least four victims at Sandusky’s trial said they were molested after 2001.
The scandal led to the firing of Paterno shortly after Sandusky’s arrest, and he died of cancer two months later at the age of 85.
The Hall of Fame coach was never charged with a crime, but a report commissioned by the university concluded he was part of an effort to keep a lid on the allegations against Sandusky for fear of bad publicity.