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Curley, Schultz Step Aside; Penn State Announces Safety Steps

on November 07, 2011 2:19 AM

Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz asked to step down from their respective positions as they face criminal charges, university spokesman Bill Mahon said just after midnight Monday.

The university Board of Trustees, meeting in executive session Sunday night in Old Main, agreed to accept the administrators' requests, Mahon said. Curley and Schultz were not in attendance.

For Curley, the move means he'll be placed on administrative leave "so he can devote the time needed to defend himself against the recent allegations by the Pennsylvania attorney general," a Penn State news release reads.

Schultz, who had been serving as interim senior vice president for finance and business, "will step down so that he also can defend himself and return to retirement," the release continues.

Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report. The charges, filed in connection with an ongoing child-sex-abuse case against former university football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, emerged Saturday.

Attorneys for Curley and Schultz have said their clients are innocent.

"The board, along with the entire Penn State family, is shocked and saddened by the allegations involving" Sandusky, university board Chairman Steve Garban said in the release. "Under no circumstances does the university tolerate behavior that would put children at risk, and we are deeply troubled."

Schultz was a senior vice president and university treasurer from 1993 until 2009, when he retired. He returned to the post on an interim basis this year after his successor, Al Horvath, left to pursue another job.

"The university has been interviewing candidates for the post and expects to fill the position in the coming weeks," the news release reads.

Meanwhile, associate athletic director Mark Sherburne will become interim athletic director "until Curley's legal situation is resolved," the release adds.

University officials did not hold any talks about whether Penn State President Graham Spanier or Joe Paterno, the head football coach, should step down, Mahon said. Neither of them is charged with any wrongdoing, though both are mentioned in a grand-jury report handed down last week.

Also Monday morning, the university announced it's taking several steps to strengthen safety and security.

"The protection of children is of paramount importance," Spanier said in the news release, given to reporters outside Old Main shortly after midnight. "The university will take a number of actions moving forward to increase the safety and security within our facilities and make everyone aware of the protocols in place for handling these issues."

Specifically, Penn State reported, Garban announced four steps:

  • The appointment of a task force that will seek external legal counsel and an independent review of policies and procedures for the protection of children.
  • The public announcement of findings generated by the independent review.
  • A review, with administrators, of police reporting protocols.
  • An enhancement of "educational programming around such topics."

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"Members of the Board of Trustees reinforced that Penn State is committed to honesty, integrity and upholding the highest ideals," Garban said in the release.

Spanier and Garban did not take questions early Monday morning from reporters, referring them instead to the official news release. Most trustees who emerged from the roughly two-hour executive session earlier in the night also did not say much.

One confirmed they had been in an executive session; another said a statement would be forthcoming.

That statement -- about the status of Curley and Schultz -- was issued just more than two hours later.

Mahon said about half the board attended the executive-session meeting in person; the other half, by phone. He said the meeting, which began about 7 p.m. Sunday, was called earlier in the day.

Schultz and Curley are expected to appear for arraignment Monday in Dauphin County. Sandusky was arrested and arraigned Saturday; his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Links to earlier coverage are posted below.

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