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Long-Awaited Spanier Trial Begins With Lengthy Jury Selection

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier surrounded by reporters
Matt Rourke
/
AP Photo

(Harrisburg) -- There’s just one criminal trial left in court related to the child sex abuse case that has surrounded former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky since 2011.

It's the trial of former Penn State President Graham Spanier, who is charged with handling the abuse improperly. 

When allegations that Sandusky was abusing young boys surfaced in 2001, Spanier and others didn't report it to authorities, opting instead to handle it as an internal matter.

The charges against Spanier allege his inaction allowed Sandusky to abuse three more children before being stopped. All told, he is up against two counts of endangering the welfare of children, and one count of conspiring to do so.

Two other former Penn State officials—vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley—already pled guilty on lesser charges. Both will be among the witnesses called by the prosecution.

Spanier declined a plea deal.

Potential jurors on the case sat through hours of questioning in the Dauphin County Courthouse before the final panel of seven women and five men were chosen.

Berks County Judge John Boccabella is presiding over the case, and introduced himself to jurors as a strict enforcer of court decorum.

He told them repeatedly that although they’re almost certainly familiar with the case, they must stay impartial.

The proceedings are scheduled to take two weeks, though Boccabella said he aims to be done sooner.

Katie Meyer covers politics, policy, power, and elections at every level of government, with the goal of showing how it all affects people’s lives. Before coming to Philadelphia, she covered state politics as Harrisburg bureau chief for WITF, and hosted the station’s politics podcast. She got her start in public radio in the Bronx, at Fordham University station WFUV. She’s from upstate New York.
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