It has been reported that emails say former Penn State president Graham Spanier agreed not to inform authorities of the alleged sex abuse by former football assistant Jerry Sandusky but did worry that school officials would be vulnerable for not reporting the allegations. The emails came after a graduate assistant reported in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in the team’s locker room shower. The emails show that athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz were planning to report the sexual assault allegations but then changed their minds. Spanier sent an email back to them saying he was ‘supportive’ of their plan but also worried that they could ‘become vulnerable for not having reported it.’
Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sexual assault of 10 boys late in the month of June. The incident led to the dismissal of Spanier and longtime head football coach Joe Paterno. Charges of perjury and failure to report child abuse were also filed against Schultz and Curley. Spanier has not been charged as of yet. The change in plans by Curley and Schultz came after talking with Paterno, which raises the question of whether or not Paterno knew more about the situation then he said he did.
The report discusses an email from February 26, 2001 sent by Schultz to Curley just 16 days after graduate assistant Mike McQueary informed Paterno about the assault he witnessed in the shower. Schultz suggested that Sandusky, the charity run by Sandusky and the Department of Welfare should be informed about the allegation. One day later, Curley sent an email to Spanier saying that after he thought about it and talked to Paterno, he was ‘uncomfortable’ with the plan. He also said that he wanted to work with Sandusky before authorities were informed. Curley’s email said that if Sandusky is cooperative then “we would work with him. …. If not, we do not have a choice and will inform the two groups.” Spanier’s response to that suggestion said that the decision is “humane and a reasonable way to proceed. 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.”
The lawyer for the Paterno family, Wick Sollers, said that the family is not going to comment on the emails since they did not see them.
“To be clear, the emails in question did not originate with Joe Paterno or go to him as he never personally utilized email,” Sollers said.
The lawyers for Schultz and Curley said the following over the weekend:
“For Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno, the responsible and `humane’ thing to do was, like Governor Corbett, to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague, but troubling allegations,” the lawyers said. “Faced with tough situations, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions.”