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Penn State ex-President Spanier arraigned - abc27 WHTM

Penn State ex-President Spanier arraigned

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier has been arraigned on charges he covered up and lied about child sex abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Spanier was released on $125,000 unsecured bail following the short court appearance Wednesday morning before Dauphin County District Judge William Wenner, who scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for November 16.

Spanier did not speak as he and his wife walked into and out of the court office, but his attorney, Elizabeth Ainslie, later told reporters that her client is innocent and called the claims of state prosecutors "ridiculous."

"Dr. Spanier was never given a chance to speak to this 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," Ainslie said.

Attorney General Linda Kelly announced charges last week against Spanier and two other Penn State administrators; retired university vice president Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, the athletic director now on leave until the last year of his contract expires.

Kelly said the three engaged in a "conspiracy of silence" to conceal information about suspected child abuse involving Sandusky, including on-campus incidents in 1998 and 2001, and obstructing the criminal investigation into the case.

Because Spanier, Schultz and Curley failed to do what was legally required of them when the matter first came to their attention, Kelly said at least four boys were sexually abused between 2001 and 2008.

Each has been charged with eight counts, including five third-degree felonies each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines. The felony charges include perjury, two counts of endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy to commit perjury, and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children.

Each additionally faces three second-degree misdemeanors; one count each of obstruction, conspiracy to commit obstruction, and failure to report suspected child abuse, each punishable by up to two years in prison and $5,000 fines.

Curley and Schultz were initially charged with the perjury and failure to report counts when Sandusky was arrested last November. They are awaiting trial in January and have maintained their innocence.

They were arraigned on the additional charges last week and have a preliminary hearing scheduled for November 12.

Spanier, 64, was president of Penn State for 16 years until November 9, 2011, when he and Paterno were ousted by the board of trustees four days after Sandusky's arrest.

The board of trustees later said in a statement that Spanier was removed because he failed to meet his leadership responsibilities and took insufficient action after learning of the locker room shower incident.

The board of trustees also said Spanier gave statements to news media that were not authorized and were contrary to instructions.

Spanier had issued a statement shortly after charges were filed against Schultz and Curley in which he said the two "operated at the highest levels of honesty" and had his "complete confidence."

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