State Watch

Former Penn State president reports to jail in Sandusky sexual abuse case

Penn State Nittany Lion fans hoist a flag up in the air during a game against the Southern Mississippi State Golden Eagles at the Beaver Stadium
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Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, who was convicted in 2017 of his role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, reported to jail this week to begin his prison sentence, a month earlier than initially planned. 

The Associated Press reported that Christopher Schell, the warden for Centre County Correctional Facility, said Thursday that Spanier had reported to the prison on Monday. 

Pennsylvania prison records confirmed that the 72-year-old was in custody at the correctional facility, located about 6 miles from Penn State’s campus. 

It was not immediately clear why Spanier, who last month was ordered to begin his two-month prison sentence on July 9, reported to the facility this week. 

Spanier’s attorney declined to comment when contacted by the AP. 

The former university president, who led the school from 1995 to 2011, is scheduled to serve two months on house arrest and participate in 200 hours of community service following the completion of his prison stint. 

A judge last month also ordered Spanier to serve a two-year probation term if additional prison or house arrest time is not added to his sentence. 

Spanier was found guilty in 2017 on a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child for his response to a 2001 report that Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, had been seen in a team locker room shower alone with a boy. 

The university president said the incident had been described to him as horseplay, and he did not subsequently notify police of the report. 

Spanier wrote in an email at the time, “the only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it,” according to the AP. 

Despite being convicted in 2017, Spanier’s sentence was repeatedly delayed due to multiple appeal attempts by his defense team. 

Spanier’s attorney had argued that his client shouldn’t serve time in prison, citing his poor health, the coronavirus pandemic and his “conviction on a single, non-violent misdemeanor.” 

Sandusky, who was initially convicted in 2012 for a series of child-sex crimes against clients from his youth charity from 1994 to 2008, is currently serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence. 

Penn State has given more than $100 million to more than 30 of Sandusky’s sex abuse victims.

Tags child sex abuse Jerry Sandusky Penn State Pennsylvania Prison sentence The Associated Press
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