Judge may drop Sandusky-related perjury charges against Penn State officials
Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley is on administrative leave while he waits for his trial on one count of perjury and one of failing to report possible child abuse. (Source: Penn State Office of Public Information)
Former Penn State Vice President is facing one count of perjury and one of failing to report possible child abuse. (Source: Penn State Office of Public Information)
Officers lead Jerry Sandusky out of the courtroom in handcuffs after jurors found him guilty on 45 of 48 counts. (Source: CNN)
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CENTRE COUNTY, PA (RNN) - Next week a judge is set to decide whether to drop charges against the two former top administrators at Pennsylvania State University who are accused in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal.
Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz are accused of lying to a grand jury about their knowledge of possible child sex abuse allegations involving Sandusky, Penn State's former assistant football coach.
Curley is on administrative leave as he awaits trial. Neither he nor Schultz will be present at the hearing.
The pair is charged with one count of perjury, a third-degree felony, and one count of failing to report suspected child abuse.
On Aug. 16, a judge in Dauphin County, PA, will listen to arguments about possibly dismissing the charges against the defendants.
Attorneys for Curley argued in a motion filed on Feb. 13 that the law in place when the child sexual abuse was reported to the administrators, in 2001, did not require them to report the possible abuse to authorities, voiding the counts against Curley and Schultz.
In a motion filed on May 4, attorneys for Schultz moved to quash perjury proceedings, stating a lack of specificity from the prosecution made it impossible for them to prepare a proper defense against the charges.
Although the defense received a list of statements that the prosecution found factually inaccurate, lawyers for Schultz said the "failure to provide any description of the false statements or their falsity violates the requirement that the defendant be given fair notice of the charge he must answer."
The prosecution filed a June 11 response that argued the specific statements prosecutors found to be inaccurate were enough to allow Curley to build a defense.
Defense for both Curley and Schultz also argued that the grand jury testimony of former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno failed to corroborate testimony by former coach Mike McQueary's claims that he saw Sandusky in a campus shower in a "sexual" position with an underage boy.
Curley and Schultz told the Grand Jury in 2011 that they didn't know that McQueary had caught Sandusky with the boy.
If the charges against the pair are not dismissed, it's likely the Freeh Report will play a large role in their trial.
On June 17, former FBI director Louis Freeh released the results of an independent investigation into the university's response to the Sandusky allegations. The report had been commissioned by the university.
Freeh found Curley, Schultz and former Penn State President Graham Spanier knew about allegations both in 1998 and the McQueary allegations in 2001, yet they failed to do anything about the observations.
Emails between the trio uncovered during the investigation found that Curley, Schultz and Spanier had originally planned to go to authorities with the allegations, but reversed that decision after Curley spoke with Paterno.
"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday… I think I would be more comfortable meeting with the person [presumably Sandusky] and tell him about the information we received," Curley wrote, suggesting they offer Sandusky professional help and not contact the Department of Public Welfare unless he refused.
In a reply from Spanier, the former school president said the plan was "humane."
"The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it," he wrote. "But that can be assessed down the road."
On June 22, Sandusky was convicted of multiple counts of child sexual abuse. Defense attorneys filed an appeal just days after the verdict. The appeal is still pending.
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