Judge sets March trial for 3 Penn State ex-administrators

Judge sets March trial for 3 Penn State ex-administrators

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Penn State’s former president and two other ex-administrators learned Wednesday they will go to trial next month, nearly six years after the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal first became public.

Judge John Boccabella set jury selection for March 20 in the criminal trial of former university President Graham Spanier, former Vice-President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley.

All three are charged with endangering the welfare of children.

Boccabella threw out charges of failing to properly report suspected abuse, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired.

But he denied a slew of other defence motions, including requests that all charged be thrown out. He gave both sides about four weeks to make pretrial filings regarding selection of a jury and what evidence will be allowed.

The attorney general’s office had sought to add a conspiracy charge related to the child-welfare accusation. The judge did not directly address that request, but he declined to dismiss that conspiracy charge based on time limits.

The judge also turned down defence requests to have separate trials, to move the trial from Harrisburg or to bring in out-of-county jurors.

The three administrators handled a graduate assistant’s report in 2001 claiming he had seen Sandusky, then retired, sexually abusing a boy inside a team shower late on a Friday evening. That matter was not reported directly to police and languished until the case was reopened about eight years ago.

Schultz and Curley were first arrested in 2011, and Spanier a year later. All three have consistently denied the allegations. Spanier’s lawyer declined comment, while attorneys for Curley and Schultz did not respond to messages seeking comment. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said the judge’s decisions were being reviewed.

The cases have dragged on for years, in part because of a lengthy dispute over how Penn State’s then-general counsel handled grand jury appearances with the three in 2011, and also because the original trial judge, Todd Hoover, died last year. Superior Court threw out many of the most serious charges a year ago, including perjury.

Sandusky, Penn State’s longtime assistant football coach, was convicted in 2012 of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys. He is pursuing appeals while serving a 30- to 60-year sentence at Greene State Prison.

Mark Scolforo, The Associated Press