Penn State president backs embattled AD in child sex case

Penn State president Graham Spanier is standing by athletic director Tim Curley and another school administrator after both were charged Saturday with perjury and failure to report allegations that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight boys over a span of more than a decade.

In 2002, Curley (right) and Penn State vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz were alerted by a football assistant to an incident involving Sandusky — a highly respected assistant under coach Joe Paterno for 30 years — and a boy that occurred in Penn State locker room showers. The boy was allegedly a member of The Second Mile, a charitable organization for at-risk youth that Sandusky helps operate.

According to a report released by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, "… the grand jury determined that Curley and Schultz 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."

However, Spanier, who also was mentioned in the report as failing to further investigate the allegations, said in a statement Saturday that Curley and Schultz have his unconditional support:{YSP:MORE}

The allegations about a former coach are troubling, and it is appropriate that they be investigated thoroughly. Protecting children requires the utmost vigilance.

With regard to the other presentments, I wish to say that Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have my unconditional support. I have known and worked daily with Tim and Gary for more than 16 years. I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former University employee.

Tim Curley and Gary Schultz operate at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and compassion. I am confident the record will show that these charges are groundless and that they conducted themselves professionally and appropriately.

According to the Attorney General's report, the football assistant reported the incident to Paterno, who then informed Curley. Curley and Schultz interviewed the assistant, who described the incident he witnessed in graphic detail, but the two administrators took no further action.

Pennsylvania law requires any allegation of sexual assault of a child be reported to a law enforcement or child protective agency. Instead, the two told Sandusky he could not bring any more young children from Second Mile into the football facilities, but Sandusky continued to enjoy "emeritus" status with access to buildings.

"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," Attorney General Linda 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."

On Friday, Sandusky was charged with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; eight counts of corruption of minors, eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, seven counts of indecent assault and other offenses. A preliminary hearing for Sandusky is scheduled for Wednesday.

Curley and Schultz are expected to turn themselves in to authorities on Monday and are each facing up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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