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Graham Spanier indictment: The grand jury presentment in less than 1000 words

Here's a summary of the charges against Graham Spanier and the new charges against Gary Schultz and Tim Curley.

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Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was indicted Thursday on charges of endangering the welfare of children, perjury, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and failure to report suspected child abuse. Former university administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, who had already been charged with perjury and failure to report, were charged with endangering the welfare of children, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

So, of exactly what have the three men been accused? The grand jury presentment pertains mostly to 1998 and 2001 incidents at Penn State involving convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. In the 1998 incident, Sandusky hugged a young boy while naked in a shower. The 2001 incident is the infamous one in which Mike McQueary witnessed Sandusky abusing another boy, also in a shower.

The grand jury presentment says that in December 2010, Penn State was subpoenaed for any documents related to Jerry Sandusky's then-alleged abuses of children. Penn State lawyer Cynthia Baldwin (who sounds like she's one of the prosecution's key witnesses) then told university president Graham Spanier about the subpoena, and he told her that he knew of no such documents or information. Penn State administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley repeatedly did the same.

The presentment alleges they were all lying. Schultz apparently kept a file about Sandusky's abuses in 1998 and 2001. Also, Thomas Harmon, PSU's then-chief of police, testified that he and Schultz had had many conversations about Sandusky, and the presentment includes a set of handwritten notes from Schultz regarding a conversation with Harmon about the 1998 incident. (It includes the note, "Is this opening of pandoras box? Other children?") Schultz's file also contained notes from a conversation he had with Curley about the 1998 and 2001 incidents.

Typically, the presentment says, subpoenas to Penn State that might involve electronic data, like emails, were forwarded to an IT group called the "SOS," which would look for anything relevant. That allegedly did not happen in this case. Penn State also did not search its athletic department in response to the subpoena. The result was that Penn State did not submit any documents that were "material and pertinent" to the investigation of Sandusky.

Schultz kept his Sandusky file at his office until he was arrested in November 2011, at which point an administrative assistant removed the file and took it to Schultz's house. A previous administrative assistant of Schultz's testified that he told her never to open the Sandusky file.

The presentment says that in March 2011, law enforcement officials interviewed Spanier. By that point, Baldwin says Spanier knew plenty about the 1998 and 2001 incidents involving Sandusky. Spanier had had discussions with Schultz and Curley about their grand jury testimony. But in that interview, Spanier denied knowledge of the 1998 incident. He also claimed to have received a vague account of the 2001 incident, in which McQueary said he saw Sandusky raping a young boy in a Penn State shower.

Spanier did not report to the Board of Trustees anything about the grand jury investigation or any subpoenas, even though he was obligated to do so. Baldwin says that, after an article about the grand jury investigation was published in April 2011, Spanier had to tell the Board of Trustees something. So, in a May 2011 meeting, he had Baldwin describe to the board what a grand jury does. She did so, thinking that Spanier would then explain to the board the exact nature of the allegations against Sandusky. Instead, she says, Spanier told her to leave the room. According to members of the board, Spanier then told them that the investigation pertained only to an incident in Clinton County and had no direct relationship to Penn State. Spanier had told previously the board that it was not legal to discuss the specifics about the matter with them, due to the ongoing grand jury investigation, but Baldwin says she had repeatedly told him that was not true.

After the May 2011 meeting, Spanier did not discuss the matter with the board until it became national news in November. At that point, members of the board were "completely surprised and stunned" by the charges against Sandusky, Schultz and Curley. Members of the board were also "infuriated" with Spanier's early-November press releases in support of Schultz and Curley. At that point, Spanier still had not shared with the board most of what he knew about the Sandusky case.

The presentment alleges that Spanier, Curley and Schultz "engaged in a repeated pattern of behavior" that endangered the welfare of children. In an email, Curley described Sandusky as a man in need of "professional help," and in handwritten notes, Schultz suggests Sandusky should "confess to having a problem." Yet Spanier, Curley and Schultz tried to prevent Sandusky from facing the consequences of his actions. They did bar Sandusky from bringing children to campus, but the presentment points out that their ban on Sandusky having children on campus was "unenforceable," since they did not tell campus police or anyone else about it. As a result of Spanier, Curley and Schultz's protection of Sandusky, Sandusky was able to abuse several more victims.

Regarding the perjury charge against Spanier, the presentment says Spanier told the grand jury that he had no knowledge of the 1998 incident involving Sandusky. Spanier also said he knew the 2001 incident witnessed by McQueary to be only "horseplay," contradicting emails that suggest Spanier knew better.

The presentment also alleges that Spanier, Curley and Schultz participated in a criminal conspiracy, resulting in obstruction of justice.

Spanier is also charged with failure to report, since he had a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse.

The presentment also includes copies of handwritten notes and emails and a lawyer's time sheet.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.