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Ex-Penn State president arraigned in ‘conspiracy’

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Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier and his wife Sandra enter Harrisburg, Pa. District Judge William Wenner's office Wednesday.

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HARRISBURG — Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier was arraigned Thursday in what the Pennsylvania attorney general has called a “conspiracy of silence” among school administrators in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

Judge William Wenner set bail at $125,000 and explained that Mr. Spanier, 64, would have to surrender his passport, undergo fingerprinting, and remain within Pennsylvania unless he was granted permission to travel.

Mr. Spanier had led Penn State for more than 16 years when he resigned last November after Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, was arrested on charges of sexually abusing children. The longtime president was a prominent figure credited with leading Penn State’s transformation from a regional institution to an elite research university.

He had been criticized along with other administrators in the report released this summer by former FBI director Louis Freeh on the university’s involvement with the Sandusky case, but unlike former Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, Mr. Spanier had not been charged. That changed last week, when Attorney General Linda Kelly revealed he would be charged with eight criminal counts, including perjury, endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and failure to report suspected child abuse.

Ms. Kelly also announced new charges against Mr. Schultz and Mr. Curley.

Reporters asked defense attorney Elizabeth Ainslie about Ms. Kelly’s contention that Mr. Spanier and former colleagues had engaged in a “conspiracy of silence.”

“That is ridiculous,” Ms. Ainslie said. “Dr. Spanier was never given a chance to speak to this grand jury, to give his side of the story.”

Sandusky was found guilty in June of 45 counts of child sex abuse. He was transferred last week to the state prison in Waynesburg to serve his sentence of 30 to 60 years.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Karen Langley is a reporter for the Post-Gazette.

Contact Karen Langley at: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141.

 

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