State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Spanier guilty on one of three child endangerment counts

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 24, 2017 7:42 PM
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Spanier stood silently to the side of his lawyers as they made their statement. He declined comment as he left the courthouse. (Photo by Katie Meyer/WITF)

(Harrisburg) -- Former Penn State President Graham Spanier has been found guilty of one count of child endangerment.

His was the last pending criminal case related to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's serial sexual abuse of children on and off Penn State's campus.

The courtroom was silent as the jury read its decision, and Spanier's face was impassive.

The guilty verdict caps a saga that began for Spanier soon after Sandusky was first accused of child abuse in 2011.

The former PSU president was charged with two felony counts of child endangerment--one for violating his "duty of care" for children on Penn State's campus, and one for interfering with a report of child abuse.

The third count was for conspiracy to commit child endangerment, also a felony.

He is convicted of only the first, which was downgraded to a misdemeanor. It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10 thousand fine.

Lead prosecutor Laura Ditka, with the state Attorney General's office, said she is pleased all three Penn State administrators involved in the Sandusky case have been handed guilty verdicts.

"There's been a conviction of Jerry Sandusky, a conviction of Graham Spanier, a conviction of [former Athletic Director] Tim Curley, and a conviction of [Vice President] Gary Schultz," she said. "I'd be foolish to be disappointed."

Spanier himself declined comment after the verdict.

His lead lawyer, Sam Silver, said this isn't over yet.

"This case has always been replete with significant issues, both factual and legal," Silver said. "Those issues certainly remain, and we fully intend to appeal this verdict."

In a statement released soon after the verdict, Penn State said the decision has given the university closure, and added that Spanier--as well as Curley and Schultz--fell short of Penn State's "extraordinary expectations of our leaders."

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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