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June 2, 2017

Former Penn State administrators get a few months in jail for failing to report Sandusky sex crimes leading to child endangerment convictions

As reported in this USA Today article, "former Penn State officials Tim Curley, Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier were all sentenced to jail time Friday for failing to alert authorities to the allegations against ex-football coach Jerry Sandusky, allowing the now-convicted serial predator to continue molesting boys for years." Here is more:

All three were convicted of child endangerment. Schultz, the former university vice president, could serve a minimum of two months in jail and a maximum of 23 months. Curley, the former university athletic director, could serve a minimum of three months in jail and maximum of 23 months. And Spanier, the former university president, could serve a minimum of two months and a maximum of 12 months. All three are also poised to have house arrest after the jail time.

Prosecutors in the case argued that the ex-Penn State staffers failed as leaders and cared more about themselves and the school’s image than protecting the children. Judge John Boccabella in the case called it a “Shakespearean tragedy” and was befuddled by the former administrators lack of action. “These men are good people who made a terrible mistake,” the judge said. “Why no one made a phone call to police … is beyond me. All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to (Sandusky’s) crimes when they had a chance to do so."

“I deeply regret I didn’t intervene more forcefully,” Spanier said, expressing remorse, in reference to Sandusky’s victims. Spanier will appeal a misdemeanor of child endangerment charge that both Schultz and Curley pleaded guilty on.

Curley and Schultz also told the court they were sorry they didn’t do more. “I am very remorseful I did not comprehend the severity of the situation. I sincerely apologize to the victims and to all who were impacted because of my mistake,” Curley said. Said Schultz: “It really sickens me to think I might have played a part in children being hurt. I’m sorry that I didn’t do more, and I apologize to the victims.”

Sandusky is serving a 30 to 60-year prison term after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys.

June 2, 2017 at 07:18 PM | Permalink


Hey, defense lawyers, where was the defense? Is there a duty to report crime? Find it in the PA Code for me.

Were these mandated reporters of child abuse at the time of the abuse? Find me the contemporaneous regulation.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 2, 2017 8:50:32 PM

Defense attorney here. As I read this, they were not charged with our convicted of the crime of failing to report child abuse. It looks like they were convicted of child endangerment

Posted by: Alice Harris | Jun 2, 2017 10:06:14 PM

Alice. What harm did they proximately cause any child?

From the post, "... was befuddled by the former administrators lack of action. “These men are good people who made a terrible mistake,” the judge said. “Why no one made a phone call to police … is beyond me. All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to (Sandusky’s) crimes when they had a chance to do so."

What PA Code section does lack of action violate, unless a mandated reporter, at the time of the abuse? They were not mandated reporters at the time of the abuse.

What is wrong with your specialty? You are all working for the prosecution. You will not seek the destruction of the prosecution because you get your job from them.

I would have driven the prosecutor to jump from a bridge before allowing what he did to the client. I would have started with all the child porn on his prosecutor laptop in total e-discovery of all the appliances of the prosecutors, of their supervisors, and of the male witch hunting judge. Each child porn file would have been referred to the FBI for thorough investigation by the Corrupt Official Office. I would have hired bums to picket them in their homes, clubs, churches, doctors' offices, restaurants. I would have orchestrated a campaign by Penn State alums to destroy their lives, and to drive them all from the state.

Do you have any idea what I am talking about or are you drawing a blank, a rent seeking blank?

Here, the FBI office that would join the defense.


Posted by: David Behar | Jun 3, 2017 12:28:23 AM

Doug, thank you for the post. It is pertinent to an issue I am working on in a Second Degree Murder case, based on an opioid overdose. My client met a girl at a bar and they went to a house to use drugs. Both were adults. Girl crushes a Percocet herself, snorts it, overdoses and dies. Def charged with death caused by "distribution of controlled substances." ( sounds like social sharing to me not "distribution", which suggests a criminal enterprise engaged by a for profit dealer)

Def also charged with Failure to Report a Death.

In my opinion, there is a distinction of constitutional proportions between the perpetrator of a crime not calling the police and saying "there is a dead body in my car" , and someone who discovers a body and it is clear that the discoverer was not the perpetrator. I think the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination applies to the def and he can't be convicted of not providing information.

Twenty years ago I had a murder case and the judge found as an aggravating factor that the def didn't turn the murder weapon over to the police. The Court of Appeals reversed and ordered new sentencing hearing


Posted by: bruce cunningham | Jun 3, 2017 5:38:33 AM

Bruce. Percocet contains 2.5 mg to 10 mg of oxycodone. If one gave that intravenously, it would not stop respiration. Maybe dripping that amount over the opened breathing center of the brain might do it. Otherwise, even snorted, only the tiniest amount reached the brain, and was partially blocked by the blood brain barrier.

The lady must have had a lot of other stuff in her, and the snorting may have been a coincidental but not causative event. Do you have the coroner's toxicology report? Please, run it by a pharmacology expert. And, you are going to need one in this case to provide adequate representation.

Her intentional act of pleasure seeking also broke any chain of causation. In John Belushi's overdose case, the defendant administered the injection. Same with propofol in Michael Jackson's case.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 3, 2017 11:38:00 AM

Bruce's facts aren't quite these since "Penn State officials" have more responsibility over students and personnel than people who meet in a bar or a random someone who finds someone suffering from wounds somewhere (even a child, though in both cases it can be quite immoral) and merely go their way like two people in Jesus' parable.

For instance, in various cases there is an obligation for officials to report sex abuse.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 3, 2017 12:00:46 PM

David, your comment has led me to clarify the post title to highlight that the failure to report here prompted child endangerment prosecutions and convictions. As you and Bruce and Joe all highlight, there are a number of interesting theoretical and practical issues that can arise when prosecutors look to impose criminal liability for the failure to act. And the sentences imposed here suggest that, even when the facts/harms are pretty extreme, judges are generally disinclined to severely punish for the failure to act.

Posted by: Doug B | Jun 3, 2017 12:08:18 PM

Joe. You mention responsibility, as in loco parentis. It would be a stretch in torts. However, doesn't a crime require the violation of an explicit statute?

In Seinfeld, the characters were jailed in the only state that has a statutory duty to rescue. They had to move the characters to a jail in Vermont for the last episode.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 3, 2017 1:31:27 PM

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