November 5, 2011
Child sex charges filed against Jerry Sandusky; two top Penn State University officials charged with perjury & failure to report suspected child abuse
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Linda Kelly and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan today announced that criminal charges have been filed against three Centre County men as the result of an extensive and wide-reaching grand jury investigation into reports of the sexual abuse of children.
The defendants include:
"This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys," Kelly said. "It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury that was investigating a series of assaults on young boys."
"I hope people will understand that any suspicion of sexual abuse should be reported to the police," Commissioner Noonan said. "Sexual abuse is a serious issue and children are often scared to tell anyone about the abuse - many cases are hidden for years - but by informing the police they can stop it.
Kelly and Noonan said that evidence was presented to an investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges that were filed today. Testimony was heard from numerous victims and others who observed or reported suspicious activities, along with the submission of local and state records from the University Police, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and Children and Youth Services offices.
Kelly said the investigation by Pennsylvania State Police and the Attorney General's Office was initiated by a referral from then Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira. Originally, the case focused on the claims of "Victim 1," a young boy who reported that Sandusky had indecently assaulted him and engaged in various sex acts while the boy was a house guest at Sandusky's home in College Township, Centre County.
Kelly said the victim first encountered Sandusky through the Second Mile program, when he was 11 or 12 years old, attending a Second Mile camp on the Penn State University campus. Sandusky also allegedly used expensive gifts to maintain contact with the boy, including trips to professional and college sporting events, golf clubs, a computer, clothing and money.
According to the grand jury, Sandusky used overnight visits at his home to make physical contact with the boy, typically at bed time. The victim testified that Sandusky's advances began with "back cracking" and rubbing, later progressing to Sandusky performing sex acts on the boy and having the boy engage in similar activity with him.
Kelly said that Sandusky also allegedly used his position as a volunteer coach at a high school in Clinton County in order to continue contacting the victim, often calling the boy from study hall to have unsupervised "meetings" with Sandusky.
The grand jury also heard testimony from a wrestling coach at the high school about an unusual evening encounter at the school, where Sandusky was discovered lying face-to-face with the boy in a secluded weight room. Other high school officials testified that Sandusky was "clingy" and "needy" in his reaction to situations where boys he was supposedly mentoring would break-off their relationships, describing the behavior as "suspicious."
The grand jury noted that Sandusky was barred from the school district attended by the victim in 2009, after the boy's mother reported allegations of sexual assault to the school. That matter was promptly reported to authorities, as required by Pennsylvania law - a report that marked the start of an extensive investigation by Pennsylvania State Police and the Attorney General's Office.
The quick action by high school staff members in Clinton County in response to reports of a possible sexual assault by Sandusky is in marked contrast to the reaction of top officials at Penn State University, who had actually received a first-hand report of a sexual attack by Sandusky seven years earlier.
"One of the most compelling and disturbing pieces of testimony in this investigation came from an eyewitness to a late-night sexual assault that allegedly occurred in March of 2002, in the locker room of the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus," Kelly said. "Hearing what sounded like sexual activity in the showers of a building that was supposed to be empty, a graduate assistant reportedly observed Sandusky sexually assaulting a naked boy who appeared to be about 10 years old."
According to the grand jury, the graduate assistant had returned to the football building that evening to put a new pair of sneakers in his locker and to retrieve some recruiting films, only to be surprised that the lights were on in the locker room and showers were running. The assistant immediately recognized Sandusky.
Kelly said the assistant, who was extremely upset about what he had seen, immediately called his father to relate what he had discovered. Together, the two decided that the assistant should promptly report the incident to head football coach Joe Paterno.
The next morning, the assistant telephoned Paterno and then went to Paterno's home to explain what he had seen. Paterno testified that he then called Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and met with Curley the following day, explaining that a graduate assistant had reported seeing Sandusky involved in sexual activity with a young boy in the showers at the Lasch Building.
Kelly said that approximately one and a half weeks later, the graduate assistant was called to a meeting with Curley and Gary Schultz, who was Senior Vice President for Finance and Business at the University. At that time, the assistant again recounted what he had witnessed Sandusky doing to a young boy in the showers of the football locker room.
"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Kelly said. "Additionally, there is no indication that anyone from the university ever attempted to learn the identity of the child who was sexually assaulted on their campus or made any follow-up effort to obtain more information from the person who witnessed the attack first-hand."
Kelly said that rather than reporting the matter to law enforcement, Curley and Schultz agreed that Sandusky would be told he could not bring any Second Mile children into the football building. That message was also reportedly related to Dr. John Raykovitz at the Second Mile (Past Executive Director and Executive Vice-President and currently the President and CEO of the Second Mile).
"Despite this so-called 'ban,' which was reviewed and approved by University President Graham Spanier without any further inquiry on his part, there was no effective change in Sandusky's status with the school and no limits on his access to the campus," Kelly said. "Sandusky's 'emeritus' position, alleged negotiated as part of his 1999 retirement, provided him with an office in the Lasch Football Building; unlimited access to all football facilities, including the locker room; access to all recreational facilities; a parking pass; a university Internet account; listing in the faculty directory and numerous other privileges - he had remained a regular presence on campus."
During testimony before the grand jury, Schultz acknowledged that he was aware of a 1998 University Police investigation that also involved allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior involving Sandusky and young boys in the football showers, but did not pursue the matter further and did not seek any additional review in light of the new report in 2002.
The grand jury also noted that the 1998 report involving Sandusky and boys in the showers was reviewed by University Police and Child Protective Services, with the blessing of Wendell Courtney, who at the time served as University Counsel and was (and remains) counsel to The Second Mile - though no criminal charges were ever pursued.
Kelly said the grand jury determined that Curley and Schultz had provided false testimony while discussing their response to the 2002 report of a child sexual assault in the football showers.
Specifically, the grand jury found that Curley committed perjury in repeatedly denying that he had ever been told that Sandusky had engaged in sexual misconduct with a child.
Additionally, assertions by Schultz that the allegations concerning Sandusky were "not that serious" and that he and Curley "had no indication that a crime had occurred" were in direct contradiction to other testimony and constituted perjury.
The grand jury found that portions of the testimony provided by both Curley and Schultz were not credible.
"The failure of top university officials to act on reports of Sandusky's alleged sexual misconduct, even after it was reported to them in graphic detail by an eyewitness, allowed a predator to walk free for years - continuing to target new victims," Kelly said. "Equally disturbing is the lack of action and apparent lack of concern among those same officials, and others who received information about this case, who either avoided asking difficult questions or chose to look the other way."
Kelly said that despite the false testimony and "uncooperative atmosphere" encompassing some Penn State University and Second Mile officials, investigators from the Attorney General's Office and State Police gradually uncovered a pattern of other potential sexual assaults by Sandusky.
The grand jury eventually identified a total of eight young men who were the targets of similar sexual advances or assaults by Sandusky, starting in 1994 and continuing through 2009. All of the victims first encountered Sandusky through Second Mile activities.
Kelly and Noonan explained that the search continues for additional victims and this case remains an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators from the Office of Attorney General at 814-863-1053 or Pennsylvania State Police at 814-470-2238.
Sandusky is charged with the following offenses:
Sandusky was taken into custody today in Centre County and preliminarily arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot, who released him on $100,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 9th.
Curley and Schultz are each charged with one count of perjury, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine, along with one count each of failure to report (under the Child Protective Services Law), a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a $200 fine.
Curley and Schultz are scheduled to surrender on Monday, November 7th, before Harrisburg Magisterial District Judge Marsha Stewart.
Sandusky will be prosecuted in Centre County, while Curley and Schultz will be prosecuted in Dauphin County, all by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jonelle Harter Eshbach of the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Section.
Kelly thanked the Pennsylvania State Police for their extensive assistance with this joint investigation.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty)