Former Penn State President Graham Spanier has been found guilty of one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of children. He was found not guilty on a second child endangerment charge and conspiracy charge.
A Dauphin County jury rendered the verdict following arguments and testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday and about 14 hours of deliberation over the course of Thursday and Friday.
Spanier’s attorney, Sam Silver, said they will appeal the guilty verdict.
Ultimately jurors decided that Spanier and two fellow administrators should have done more to stop Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted on child sexual abuse charges in 2012, but there wasn’t evidence to show that they conspired to cover-up reports about the former Penn State assistant football coach.
Reporters in the court room said Spanier remained seated and showed no emotion when the verdict was read. Judge John Boccabella allowed Spanier to remain free on bail until sentencing, the date for which has not yet been set.
All three charges had been brought as felonies, but prosecutors were required to prove an ongoing course of conduct. Jurors decided they did not, and the misdemeanor count carries a maximum five year prison sentence. As a first-time offender, Spanier could receive far less than that.
Spanier was charged for his handling of reports of Sandusky engaged in inappropriate behavior with boys in campus locker room showers. A 1998 report was investigated by police and child welfare authorities, but the Centre County District Attorney chose not to bring charges. Spanier has said he does not recall ever being informed about that case, but was copied on a string of emails among administrators that tracked its progress.
In 2001, then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary reported to former athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz that he had witnessed Sandusky in a Lasch Building shower with a boy. McQueary has said he witnessed sexual abuse, while Curley maintains the administrators were never told of sexual activity. Schultz testified that McQueary told them of seeing Sandusky in the shower behind the boy with his arms wrapped around him.
The boy in that case was not identified but was referred to as Victim 2 at Sandusky’s trial.
Curley and Schultz both faced the same charges as Spanier but pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of child endangerment. They both testified for the prosecution this week.
Each said, as Spanier maintained, that the former president was never told of sexual activity. The three men agreed to tell Sandusky not to bring children to the locker rooms, to tell him to get counseling and to inform the director of his Second Mile charity for at-risk youth. Curley and Schultz both testified that they regretted not following through on their initial plan to report Sandusky to the Department of Public Welfare.
The state attorney general’s office argued that in not doing so they left more boys to be abused by Sandusky.
‘Their plan resulted in a sea of carnage,” deputy attorney general Laura Ditka said.
She also said the Spanier’s background in family psychology meant he should have been alarmed by reports of a man engaged in inappropriate activity with boys in a shower.
“For God’s sake, he’s a family and child therapist,” she said. “They knew what to do.”
“Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz were each in positions of authority and had information of young boys being sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky,” Attorney General Shapiro said in a statement after the verdict. “Instead of reporting it to authorities they turned their backs and the abuse continued. These leaders endangered the welfare of children by their actions and inactions.”