In emails obtained by CNN and other news outlets this week, former Penn State president Graham Spanier signed off on keeping the child-abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky a secret, calling it a “humane and reasonable way to proceed” rather than expose Sandusky’s crimes and put the school in a bad position.
The emails were exchanged directly after Mike McQueary went to coach Joe Paterno with claims that he’d seen Sandusky performing a sex act with a child in the school showers in 2001; in them, athletic director Tim Curley and (retired) vice president Gary Schultz essentially asked for guidance on whether or not to come forward with the allegations. Their initial plan was to report Sandusky, but later they changed their minds, and Spanier supported their decision to remain quiet, although he did voice the opinion that university officials would be in a vulnerable position if word ever got out. When Curley said he was uncomfortable with reporting Sandusky and preferred instead to work with him on the matter directly, Spanier agreed.
”The only downside for us is if message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it, but that can be assessed down the road,” Spanier allegedly wrote in the email.
While it’s been noted that school officials were simply trying to keep from acting rashly in light of such ghastly allegations, now that we know more about Sandusky and the abuse he was convicted of earlier this month, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would not come forward with the best interests of the children involved.
No word yet on whether the emails will lead to charges against Spanier, Curley or Schultz.