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Judge to Consider Unsealing Files in Former Penn State Administrators' Case

by on October 07, 2016 6:20 PM

The judge presiding over the case against three former Penn State administrators will consider making public files in the case that have been under seal.

Responding to filings by multiple media organization to unseal the documents in Dauphin County Court, specially presiding Senior Judge John Boccabella ordered state prosecutors and attorneys for former university president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz to identify by Oct. 13 what documents they believe should remain sealed and why.

The media companies have cited legal precedent and argued that the volume of records under seal is unconstitutional. Gayle Sproul, attorney for the organizations, will have until Oct. 24 to respond to what the defense and prosecution say should be kept sealed.

Boccabella, a retired judge from Berks County, took over the case in July after all Dauphin County judges recused themselves. Most of the files had been placed under seal while Judge Todd Hoover was overseeing the case in the years since the three men were charged. Hoover died in August..

When Jerry Sandusky was charged with child sexual abuse in November 2011, Curley and Schultz were charged with perjury related to their testimony before the investigating grand jury in the case, as well as child endangerment and failure to report for what prosecutors claimed was their handling of earlier reports about Sandusky and possible abuse. Spanier was charged the following year on similar grounds and at the same time Curley and Schultz had the obstruction and conspiracy charges added.

But earlier this year, the felony perjury, obstruction and conspiracy charges against all three were quashed by Pennsylvania Superior Court after attorneys for the former Penn State officials successfully argued that former university counsel Cynthia Baldwin's own grand jury testimony violated their attorney-client privilege, and that she did not explain to them that she was representing the university and not them individually when each testified before the grand jury investigating Sandusky. 

The misdemeanor counts of failure to report and child endangerment remained, but attorneys for all three have argued that they should be dismissed, in part because none of their positions included oversight of the children abused by Sandusky.

The state and attorneys for Curley and Schultz also are currently at odds over whether the Superior Court fully dismissed the conspiracy charge, with state arguing that the conspiracy count addressed multiple alleged crimes, and not all of those were dismissed.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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