Three former Penn State officials are getting jail time for failing to report convicted sexual predator Jerry Sandusky to authorities.
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier and former vice president Gary Schultz will have to spend two months in jail. Former athletic director Tim Curley will spend three months in jail. The rest of their sentences will be served in house arrest.
Spanier, who received a sentence of four to 12 months, plans to appeal. Curley received a sentence of seven to 23 months, and Schultz was sentenced to six to 23 months. All three were also fined and ordered to perform community service.
Spanier was found guilty of one count of misdemeanor child endangerment, while Curley and Schultz pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of children.
Sentencing guidelines had called for up to a year in prison.
Mike McQueary, a graduate coaching assistant, told administrators that he saw Sandusky molesting a boy in a football team shower in 2001. Spanier, Curley and Schultz didn’t report Sandusky to child welfare authorities or police.
“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 had a chance to do so.”
Boccabella also criticized the actions of former football coach Joe Paterno, who like the other administrators failed to alert child welfare authorities or police to the 2001 complaint.
Paterno “could have made that phone call without so much as getting his hands dirty. Why he didn’t is beyond me,” Boccabella said.
McQueary testified about how he went to Paterno a day after the shower encounter to discuss what he had seen. Paterno notified Curley and Schultz, and McQueary met with both of them about a week later. In his 2011 grand jury testimony, Paterno said he was told by McQueary the encounter involved “fondling” and was of “a sexual nature” but wasn’t sure what the act was.
The prosecution’s key evidence included notes and email exchanges in which Curley, Schultz and Spanier debated what to do after McQueary’s report.
The three former Penn State officials all apologized for their actions and to Sandusky’s victims before the sentences were handed down.
“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,” Curley said. “I sincerely apologize to the victims and to all who were impacted because of my mistake.”
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 said Spanier was a “failure as a leader when it mattered most.” Laura Ditka, a prosecutor in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, said Spanier chose to “protect his reputation and the reputation of his friends and the reputation of the university above the well-being of some innocent children,” calling that decision inexcusable.
Sandusky wasn’t arrested until a tip in 2011 led investigators to interview the shower witness. Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence for abusing 10 boys but is appealing.
The scandal led to Paterno’s firing in November 2011, 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.
Penn State’s football program suffered heavy sanctions from the NCAA, and the university has paid out nearly a quarter-billion dollars in fines, court verdicts, settlements and other costs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.