Update: ABCNews reported that Spanier’s defense team called no witnesses and the jury has the case now. Spanier never took the stand; so much for his bravado. This may mean the defense is conceding guilt and preparing for appeal.
Update: Former Penn State VP and Spanier right-hand man Gary Schultz testified today for the prosecution: “Former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz also took the stand. He told the court, as a rule, he kept Graham Spanier in the loop about things, especially the Sandusky incident. Schultz said in 2001, he, Spanier, and Curley had a meeting about the Sandusky situation. Schultz says Spanier was well aware of what was going on.” One of Sandusky’s victim’s also testified that he was assaulted after Sandusky was told to stay off campus.
Update: Prosecution opening remarks at the Spanier trial: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for men to do nothing,” said Patrick Schulte, deputy attorney general, in opening arguments at Spanier’s trial in Dauphin County Court. “Evil thrives when men do nothing.”
Update: Philly dot com reported today: “Friends of Spanier, now 68, say that prosecutors offered him a deal like the one the others took in exchange for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor endangerment count — but that he rejected it.” No doubt Spanier is now out of touch with reality, especially given that he’s taking the stand in his trial.
All this week, after Graham Spanier’s co-conspirators in the Sandusky child rape cover-up, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor to get the remaining felony charge dropped, journalists from the Philadelphia Inquirer to the Chronicle of Higher Education speculated on why “imperious” Spanier was still going to trial on Monday, 20 March, on both the misdemeanor and felony counts. Was Spanier not offered the same plea deal the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prosecutors offered Gary Schultz, former Penn State VP and keeper of the secret Sandusky file and offered former Penn State AG Tim Curley?
the guilty plea
What Schultz and Curley confessed to in court when their guilty pleas were entered on 13 March clearly established that the “horseplay” nonsense they and Spanier concocted was a lie. All three knew that Mike McQueary witnessed and reported more than horseplay between Sandusky and a kid in a Penn State shower. They knew they’d fired McQueary to cover-up the Sandusky crimes. They knew they had never enforced their order for Sandusky to stay off campus, which allowed the now convicted predator (on 45 counts) to continue to prey on children. They knew they were covering up horrific crimes. And did nothing.
But now the speculation in the press is that Schultz and Curley, as part of the plea deal that dropped the felony count against them, will testify in Spanier’s trial for a reduced sentence, because the judge has 90 days to announce their sentences and the severity of those sentences, including up to five years jail time, could depend on their co-operation as prosecution witnesses against Spanier.
Spanier may not have been offered a plea deal to get him into court. That’s not known. His history of arrogance and hubris that led him to think he could get away with both protecting his reputation and a child rapist, could have led him to reject a deal, if one were offered. After all, Spanier is still suing Penn State for breach of contract while rejecting Penn State’s claim that Spanier did not honor his separation agreement when he lied about his part in the cover-up. Penn State wants that golden parachute back, including Spanier’s $600,000 a year salary for not teaching sociology since he left the president’s office. Penn State, without a doubt, would like to get that money back so it can pay the multi-million-dollar McQueary settlement; although, out of desperation, Penn State is challenging that settlement simply because the university doesn’t want to add more to the quarter billion dollars Spanier has cost them so far for Sandusky’s crimes.
Spanier’s blindly loyal supporters still like to concoct fantasy legal defenses based on trivia such as the fact that Spanier never talked directly with Mike McQueary, who did talk to Schultz and Curley, who did talk to Spanier and exchanged emails and followed Spanier’s lead to remain silent about Sandusky other than asking him not to return to campus. That was the humane thing to do, according to Spanier with a completely callous disregard to the welfare of children. It’s hard to believe they thought Sandusky, a serial predator, would stop; most likely they hoped he’d get caught off campus when he raped his next victim.
Other Spanier fans still like to defend him as a great leader, a man who expanded Penn State, rather than the man he was, a man without ethics or legal qualms. Spanier, starting before he was even 40 years old, moved from scholarship and teaching into administration and never looked back from his career goal to gain further status and power in higher education, a goal that corrupted him if he were not already corrupted. His behavior at Oregon State from 1986 to 1991 offers stark evidence that his career came first and the hell with integrity because, once you get past integrity, “the rest is a piece of cake.” You can read all about it in Barry Roberts Greer’s “Malamud and Spanier at Oregon State,” wherein the well-documented tale is told of Spanier not hesitating to stomp on the First Amendment rights and the academic freedom of an instructor to purge the OSU English Department. Keep in mind, again, as we’ve said here before, that of all the university departments, save journalism, no other venerates written free expression like an English department. Or should. But not at OSU where English faculty stood by and did nothing when Spanier forced them to hire his wife. They stood by and did nothing while Spanier stomped on the First Amendment and then ran away from the bad publicity to Nebraska, his stepping stone back to Penn State. OSU English faculty, even those cynical tenured bunch, probably worried they faced a fate like Greer or McQueary did for speaking up.
And let’s hope between now and Monday, 20 March, Spanier is not again able to hide from his fate to face a judge and jury for his (still alleged but not for much longer) crimes.
Maybe Spanier will run yet another PR campaign over the weekend claiming to be Sandusky’s real victim.
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