Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was arraigned this morning on charges stemming from what the attorney general said was a cover-up by senior university leaders to hide abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky.
Spanier’s attorney, Elizabeth Ainsley, called the notion of a “conspiracy of silence” “absolutely ridiculous” and said Spanier is innocent.
Spanier is accused of perjury, obstruction, child endangerment, failure to report abuse and conspiracy.
“Dr. Spanier was never given the chance to speak to the grand jury to give his side of the story, and we look forward to the chance to present his side of the story in the future,” Ainsley told reporters upon leaving the short court proceeding.
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District Judge William Wenner set bail at $125,000 unsecured, meaning Spanier will remain free without putting up any money or collateral and will not have to pay unless he does not show up in court.
Wenner said a tentative preliminary hearing date is set for Nov. 16, but he said it is more likely to be in January.
Spanier, who was in court with his wife, Sandra, a professor of English and women’s studies at Penn State, was indicted on the charges last week along with former university administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who already had been charged with perjury and failure to report abuse.
On Nov. 1, additional charges of conspiracy, obstruction and child endangerment were filed against Curley and Schultz.
Prosecutors from the state Attorney General’s Office say the men knew about abuse allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001 but did not report them to the proper authorities and tried to hide them. Prosecutors also say they tried to keep authorities from investigating what they knew.
The charges from the latest indictment appear to be based on evidence turned up by former FBI director Louis Freeh’s investigation. Freeh, whose investigative team was hired by the university, concluded that the men conspired to hide the allegations out of fear of bad publicity.
The attorneys for Curley and Schultz have maintained that their clients also are innocent.
Attorney General Linda Kelly said she wants the men tried together, although Kelly will not be in charge of the case come January, when Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane takes over.
Spanier’s bail was essentially the same as Curley’s and Schultz’s, who were placed on $75,000 unsecured bail last year and then $50,000 unsecured bail after their arraignment last week.
Spanier is on administrative leave, and the university will cover his legal bills.