Home / National News / Former Penn State President to be sentenced for ‘conspiracy of silence’ after Sandusky’s assault crimes


(HARRISBURG, Pa.) — Former Penn State President Graham Spanier should be sent to jail for his role in a “conspiracy of silence” involving Jerry Sandusky, prosecutors in Pennsylvania said in court filing unsealed Thursday.

Spanier, who was convicted earlier this year of misdemeanor child welfare endangerment, faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail, according to guidelines cited in the attorney general’s memorandum to the court.

Spanier is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, along with former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former university vice president Gary Schultz who each pleaded guilty in the case.

“The crime that these defendants committed has had a profound effect on the children who were victimized by Jerry Sandusky, deputy attorneys general Laura Ditka and Patrick Schulte wrote. “The defendants helped to facilitate this victimization through their conspiracy of silence.”

The prosecutors declined to recommend a sentence for Curley or Schultz, but said, “Nothing short of a sentence that includes a period of jail time would be an appropriate sentence for Graham Spanier.”

Spanier said his conviction “will forever alter him and his family” and requested a sentence that includes no time behind bars.

“Graham Spanier has fallen from being one of the most highly-regarded leaders in American education to being associated with one of the worst episodes in the history of American education,” defense attorneys Samuel Silver and Bruce Merenstein wrote. “He will never get beyond that.”

Defense attorneys also cited Spanier’s age, 69, “worsening health” and “public shaming” in their argument that jail time “is unnecessary to achieve the interests of justice.”

Prosecutors showed no sympathy and took aim at Spanier’s failure to notify child protective services following Sandusky’s 2001 sexual assault of a child in a Penn State shower.

“Spanier’s sentence should make it loud and clear that the protection of the welfare Pennsylvania’s children should never take a back seat to the reputation of one man ever again.”

After Spanier was removed from office in November of 2011, Penn State negotiated a five-year separation agreement with him under which he remained on staff as a tenured faculty member earning $600,000 per year.

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