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Press Release

AG Shapiro Announces Intent to Appeal Federal Judge’s Decision to Overturn Graham Spanier Conviction

May 1, 2019 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro is announcing today that he intends to appeal a federal court judge’s decision to overturn former Penn State President Graham Spanier’s child-endangerment conviction. Spanier was convicted in March 2017 of endangering the welfare of children for his failure to report the sexual abuse of children by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

“Graham Spanier, as President of Penn State University, was personally advised that children were being sexually abused on school property,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “Evidence proved he chose not to help the children—but instead to cover up the abuse, despite being well aware of his responsibility as a supervisor.

“In a last-minute and highly unusual decision yesterday evening, a federal magistrate set Spanier free just before he was finally about to begin serving his deserved sentence. Federal courts have very limited power to act in state criminal proceedings, and this ruling plainly exceeded that power.

“As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has made crystal clear, Spanier’s conduct was illegal. The Office of Attorney General will quickly appeal this ruling to hold him accountable for his conduct covering up child sexual abuse. No one is above the law.”

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