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Key Witness In Spanier Trial Says He Wishes He’d Done More

Tim Curley
Matt Rourke
AP Photo

(Harrisburg) – The primary witnesses for the prosecution are testifying Wednesday in the child endangerment trial of former Penn State President Graham Spanier.

Spanier’s charged with failing to act aggressively enough to prevent football coach Jerry Sandusky from serially abusing young boys.

One of those witnesses—former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley—handled the case alongside Spanier, and has already said he wishes he did more.

Last week, Curley pled guilty to a child endangerment misdemeanor—a reduced sentence. He told a defense lawyer that while the terms of the sentence played into his decision, he real reason he pled is that he believes he should have done more.  

After Curley, Spanier, and former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz first heard allegations Sandusky sexually abused a young boy in a school shower in 2001, they decided to call child protective services.

But Curley changed his mind—suggesting instead they talk to Sandusky and ban him from bringing children on campus, and only call authorities if the coach resisted. The other two agreed.

But Curley testified that at the end of the day, the decision was up to Spanier.

A fundamental question in the case is whether Spanier fully understood the nature of Sandusky’s 2001 child abuse. Former coach Mike McQueary witnessed the assault, and has said he told Curley and Schultz that it was explicitly sexual.

But Curley says he got the impression it was mostly “horseplay” after speaking to McQueary, and to head coach Joe Paterno, who died in 2012. Curley and Schultz then relayed that information to Spanier.

After the 2001 incident, Sandusky went on to abuse at least four more boys before he was finally stopped.

Next up for testimony is Schultz, as well as a former victim of Sandusky identified only as John Doe.

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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