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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Former university president is charged

  • The former president of Penn State was charged Thursday in connection with the ongoing sex scandal at the university.
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  • The former president of Penn State was charged Thursday in connection with the ongoing sex scandal at the university.
    Graham Spanier was charged by the Pennsylvania Attorney General with perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.
    Also charged Thursday were two former underlings, Timothy Curley and Gary Schultz, who already are accused of lying to the grand jury that investigated the former Penn State assistant football coach. They were both charged with endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.
    Sandusky, who was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years, was found guilty and is serving a sentence of 30-60 years. He was transferred to Greene State Prison in southwestern Pennsylvania earlier this week. There was a possibility he would be sent to the prison in Waymart, which was one of three on the list for his transfer.
    The charges again the school president along with Curley, the athletic director on leave as he serves out the last year of his contract, and Schultz, who retired as the vice president for business and finance, starts another chapter in the scandal at the university.
    But is it typical of how child sex abuse cases play out or is this something different?
    A little of both, according to Michele Minor-Wolf, executive director of the Wayne County Victims Intervention Program (VIP).
    "Sexual abuse is not about sex, it's about power," said Wolf, in talking about typical cases of child sexual abuse.
    In this case, the power was not just with Sandusky but also with those who help power at the university.
    "In my own personal opinion, this wasn't only about them protecting themselves, but they were protecting the powerful university," said Wolf.
    She believes those in power were covering up the abuse at any expense, including that of innocent victims.
    One of the saddest parts of the case, and the one that relates to almost all such cases, is the victims were essentially ignored and forgotten.
    It took many years before the case against Sandusky became public, and much of that was because of investigative reporting that uncovered so many facts it could no longer be ignored.
    Page 2 of 3 - According to the charges filed on Thursday, some are related to emails which were obtained during an investigation about the scandal.
    In one particular incident, an email relates to a report by former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary who said he witnessed Sandusky in the shower with a young boy.
    Spanier told former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who conducted an extensive investigation, that he believed the incident witnessed by McQueary amounted to "horseplay," even though an email sent by him to Curley at that time reflected a much somber tone.
    In that email, Spanier was reacting to a proposal by Curley in which they would not report Sandusky to authorities but instead tell him he needed help and that he could no longer bring children into Penn State.
    "The only downside for us if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," Spanier wrote in 2001. "The approach you outline is humane and a resonable way to proceed."
    Spanier's lawyers have said the Freeh report is a "myth" and claim that if he knew about the abuse back then, it would have been reported.
    Wolf says the fact nobody reported the incidents to law enforcement speaks volumes about the entire matter.
    She pointed out reporting incidents to a superior is the right thing to do and that happened when it came to McQueary reporting it to Paterno, who then reported it up the command chain.
    However, the incidents were never reported to police, which is a violation of law.
    Wolf said in any instance, a person should report such a matter to their superior, however, they can also report it law enforcement.
    "There is nothing keeping them from making their own report," said Wolf.
    She did say the "responsibility does lie" with the superiors, but it failed to work in this case and more victims were abused by Sandusky.
    "This whole thing was handled poorly," said Wolf.
    State Attorney General Linda Kelly said the investigation reveals too many in power failed to act.
    Page 3 of 3 - "This was not a mistake by these men, this was not an oversight," said Kelly. "It was not a misjudgment on their part. This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials to actively conceal the truth."
    The charges were filed with a district judge in Harrisburg. The judge said all three men were not expected to be in court before Friday.
    Material from an Associated Press story was used in this article.
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