Three former Penn State officials connected to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal have been ordered to stand trial for their actions by a Pennsylvania judge.
Kate Giammarise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the news from the Harrisburg courthouse:
After a preliminary hearing, former university president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz were held for court on perjury, obstruction of justice and other charges. They are accused of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse of children by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and covering up their actions.
Judge William Wenner presided over Tuesday's hearing. According to Mike Dawson of the Centre Daily Times, Wenner prefaced his decision to send the three former administrators to trial by saying, "Today is a tragic day for Penn State."
Lisa Powers, a Penn State spokeswoman, testified on Tuesday. As noted by Dawson on Twitter, her testimony and the information provided by the prosecution painted the accused former officials as trying to cover up what they knew about Sandusky's actions:
The take-home message from Powers' testimony: Her office was kept in the dark about #Sandusky issues.— Mike Dawson (@MikeDawsonCDT) July 30, 2013
The prosecution has been showing the emails between Spanier, Curley and Schultz that were in #Freeh report.— Mike Dawson (@MikeDawsonCDT) July 30, 2013
Per this Dawson tweet, Schultz's lawyer doesn't expect the trial to begin before 2014:
Schultz attorney said the #PennState admins' trial could be in March, April, maybe into May.— Mike Dawson (@MikeDawsonCDT) July 30, 2013
One of the main points of emphasis from Tuesday's proceedings was Spanier's 2011 testimony to a grand jury. As Penn State's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, reported on Twitter, that collection of information was read by the prosecution:
Per Sam Janesch of the Daily Collegian, Spanier denied any knowledge of a 1998 Sandusky incident in that testimony. He also told the grand jury that Curley and Schultz informed him in 2002 that Sandusky was caught "horsing around" with a child in the Lasch Football building. As Janesch notes, "Spanier said it was never mentioned that the incident had been sexual."
Tim Lewis, who is Spanier's lawyer, maintained innocence for his client when speaking to reporters after the ruling, per Dawson:
Lewis said Spanier looks forward to demonstrating innocence to all at trial. #PennState— Mike Dawson (@MikeDawsonCDT) July 30, 2013
Sandusky is currently serving out his 30- to 60-year prison sentence.
After being convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in June of 2012, the 69-year-old was sentenced last October without the possibility of parole before the first 30 years of his sentence have been completed.
As reported by CNN's Melissa Gray on July 15, Penn State's Board of Trustees has authorized the school to offer settlements to some of the men who accused Sandusky of abusing them as children.
This latest development involving the former Penn State officials confirms there are many more steps to be taken in this tragic story.