Jerry Sandusky was a major focus of the news last summer when he was accused–and then convicted–of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. The story was heartbreaking, horrifying, and brought ruin to the lives of many…and to the reputations of men who had been a part of the Penn State legacy for decades.
Now, a little over a year later, a judge has ruled that the school’s former president and two former administrators will stand trial on charges that they attempted to cover up their failure to alert police that Sandusky had been accused of molesting a boy in the locker room showers. Former President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz, and former Athletic Director Tim Curley allegedly didn’t act when assistant coach Mike McQueary said he’d witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in the locker room showers; Curley and Schultz later said they didn’t realize the assault was sexual in nature, and Spanier said he was never made fully aware of the allegations. However, the FBI discovered emails sent between the three men discussing what to do about the incident. It was allegedly decided that they would ask Sandusky not to bring boys from his underprivileged youth charity organization, The Second Mile, to the school. McQueary said he took his report to Coach Joe Paterno, as well, who ignored the claims. Paterno died early last year, before Sandusky could be put on the stand.
“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. But that can be assessed down the road,” Spanier wrote in one of the e-mails.
At least two boys were molested after that incident, which might have been prevented if school officials had stepped in. Penn State recently authorized payment of around $60 million to the families of the victims, who filed claims against the university. Sandusky, meanwhile, maintains his innocence and plans to appeal his life sentence.