Three former high-ranking Penn State officials, including the university's former president, Graham Spanier, were ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges that they were part of a cover-up related to the child sexual abuse scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky.
After a two-day preliminary hearing, Harrisburg District Judge William Werner decided there was enough evidence against Spanier, retired university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley to proceed with a trial, which could start this year.
That would be the next public chapter of the scandal, which threw the university and its most prominent athletic program into turmoil. Two weeks ago, Penn State's board of trustees authorized the payment of about $60 million to settle claims made by dozens of Sandusky's victims.
The numerous charges against the three men include perjury, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children. During the preliminary hearing, prosecutors accused the men of knowing of abuse allegations against Sandusky but failing to properly report them. They are also accused of hiding information from investigators and lying to a grand jury.
The allegations stem from an incident in 2001, in which former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary said he saw Sandusky molesting a boy in a university shower. At Sandusky's trial, McQueary testified that he reported what he saw to Joe Paterno — Penn State's famed former coach — Curley and Schultz. Curley and Schultz have said McQueary did not make it clear the act was sexual in nature. Spanier denied knowing the full nature of the allegation.
But emails between the three men revealed that Spanier, Curley and Schultz had decided in 2001 to confront Sandusky themselves, instead of reporting the allegations.
Sandusky was convicted last year of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys. He is serving from 30 to 60 years in prison.