Several Serious Charges Against Penn State Administrators In Jerry Sandusky Scandal Dismissed

Jan 22, 2016

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 21, 2014, file photo, former Penn State President Graham Spanier walks from a hearing before a Superior Court panel at City Hall in Philadelphia. A judge, on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, cleared the way for Spanier to pursue a defamation lawsuit against an ex-FBI director whose team issued a university-commissioned report critical of Spanier for his handling of complaints about Jerry Sandusky.
Credit Matt Rourke / AP Photo

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Friday dismissed several of the more serious criminal charges against former Penn State administrators that relate to their handling of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

The Superior Court ruled that Cynthia Baldwin, the university's then-general counsel, should not have testified against Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Graham Spanier during grand jury proceedings.

The three-judge panel threw out perjury, obstruction and related conspiracy counts against Spanier, the school's former president, and Schultz, a former vice president. It also tossed charges of obstruction and a related conspiracy count against Curley, the school's former athletic director.

"Ms. Baldwin did not adequately explain to Curley that her representation of him was solely as an agent of Penn State and that she did not represent his individual interests," wrote Judge Mary Jane Bowes. "Although Curley was certainly aware that Ms. Baldwin was general counsel for Penn State, this awareness did not result in Curley knowing that she represented him solely in an agency capacity."

All three are still charged with failure to report suspected abuse and endangering the welfare of children. Curley also still faces a perjury count. It was not immediately clear whether the conspiracy charges were dismissed in their entirety or only as they relate to perjury and obstruction.

"We are reviewing the decision and will have no further comment until we've had an opportunity to do so," said Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, which is prosecuting the three men.

Caroline Roberto, a lawyer for Curley, said she was still analyzing the opinion but called it "the right decision, obviously." Lawyers for Schultz and Spanier did not return messages seeking comment.

The appeals decision overturned a pretrial ruling by a county judge in Harrisburg that said Baldwin's role was not improper, clearing the way for trial. Schultz and Curley were first charged with Sandusky in November 2011. Charges against Spanier were added a year later.

Sandusky, Penn State's former assistant football coach, was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. He maintains his innocence.