No Verdict After First Day Of Jury Deliberation In Spanier Case

Mar 23, 2017

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier walks to the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, March 20, 2017. Spanier faces charges that he failed to report suspected child sex abuse in the last remaining criminal case in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP Photo

(Harrisburg) -- After over 6 hours of discussion and several questions to the judge, the jury in former Penn State President Graham Spanier’s child endangerment case ended its first day of deliberation without a verdict.

They’re deciding if Spanier knowingly endangered children when he and colleagues failed to report football coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children to authorities.

The 12 men and women are reconvening Friday morning. Judge John Boccabella has said he aims to have a decision before the weekend.

Each time jurors emerged from deliberation to speak to the Boccabella, they appeared to wrestle with how to classify Spanier’s actions.

They asked for several official definitions—what constitutes a conspiracy to commit a crime, the legal parameters of child supervision, and how to determine whether an action is reckless.

Those distinctions are central in the former college president’s charges of child endangerment and conspiracy to endanger children.

In closing statements Thursday, Spanier’s defenders argued he made the decisions he thought were best with the information he had at the time.

Prosecutors said it should have been obvious Sandusky needed to be reported to authorities—and that not doing so was negligent.

Spanier himself never took the stand, and his lawyers called no witnesses—saying their case was strong enough without them.