Monday, November 7, 2011

Penn State: The Cover-Up

At times the cover-up can be worse than the crime, case-in-point Richard Nixon.  That is certainly not the case with Penn State. The sexual molestation allegations against former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky have the entire nation aghast.

Although  Sandusky is charged with 40 different counts of child sex abuse, their are two other school officials charged.  This is were the cover-up comes in. These two officials, Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz are in no way  implicated directly in the sexual abuse, but their alleged conduct if true is appalling, outrageous and an affront to all professionals associated with institutions of higher education.

What is so outrageous is that their alleged cover-up permitted an alleged predator to continue to assault children.  Nixon only covered-up a single break-in and his entire presidency collapsed.

Contrition is not the approach that Richard Nixon took nor is it the course being pursued by these two leaders from an esteemed university.  It appears instead these guys are circling the wagons.

The Associated Press reported that Thomas J. Farrell, a Pittsburgh Attorney said that Pennsylvania law requiring some school officials and others to report suspected child abuse does not apply to a Penn State administrator who's accused of keeping quiet about allegations that a former football coach molested a boy in a shower, the administrator's attorney said Sunday. "We'll bring every legal challenge that is appropriate, and I think quite a few are appropriate," Farrell told the Associated Press.

The mandated reporter law in Pennsylvania provides "a person who, in the course of employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes into contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting procedure) when the person has reasonable cause to suspect, on the basis of medical, professional or other training and experience, that a child under the care, supervision, guidance or training of that person or of an agency, institution, organization or other entity with which that person is affilitated is a victim of child abuse…" (PA Child Protective Services Law, §6311).

 Farrell offered a preview of the defense he plans to use on the charge of failing to report faced by his client, Gary C. Schultz, the university's senior vice president for finance and business. Farrell said he will seek to have the charge dismissed, reported the Associated Press.

Schultz, 62, and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, 57, were both charged with failing to report to state and county officials that a witness told them he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a naked boy in the showers of a team practice facility in 2002.

Schultz and Curley were both also charged with perjury. Lawyers for all three men say they are innocent.
Farrell told the Associated Press on Sunday that the mandated reporting rules only apply to people who come into direct contact with children. He also said the statute of limitations for the summary offense with which Schultz is charged is two years, so it expired in 2004.

The grand jury report that lays out the accusations against the men cites the state's Child Protective Services Law (included above), which requires immediate reporting by doctors, nurses, school administrators, teachers, day care workers, police and others.

The law "applies only to children under the care and supervision of the organization for which he works, and that's Penn State, it's not The Second Mile," Farrell said of his client, reported the Associated Press. "This child, from what we know, was a Second Mile child."

Farrell said he plans to seek dismissal at the earliest opportunity. Both Schultz and Curley turned themselves in at a district judge's office in Harrisburg today. As a summary offense, failure to report suspected child abuse carries up to three months in jail and a $200 fine.

"As far as my research shows, there has never been a reported criminal decision under this statute, and the civil decisions go our way," Farrell told the Associated Press.

Curley and Schultz met with the graduate assistant about a week and a half after the alleged attack, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Saturday. There is no indication that anyone at school attempted to find the boy or follow up with the witness, she said, reported the Associated Press.

"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," Kelly said.
Curley and Schultz also are accused of perjury for their testimony to the grand jury that issued a 23-page report on the matter.

Below is the perjury statute in Pennsylvania from onecle:

§ 4902.  Perjury.
        (a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of perjury, a
     felony of the third degree, if in any official proceeding he
     makes a false statement under oath or equivalent affirmation, or
     swears or affirms the truth of a statement previously made, when
     the statement is material and he does not believe it to be true.
        (b)  Materiality.--Falsification is material, regardless of
     the admissibility of the statement under rules of evidence, if
     it could have affected the course or outcome of the proceeding.
     It is no defense that the declarant mistakenly believed the
     falsification to be immaterial. Whether a falsification is
     material in a given factual situation is a question of law.
        (c)  Irregularities no defense.--It is not a defense to
     prosecution under this section that the oath or affirmation was
     administered or taken in an irregular manner or that the
     declarant was not competent to make the statement. A document
     purporting to be made upon oath or affirmation at any time when
     the actor presents it as being so verified shall be deemed to
     have been duly sworn or affirmed.
        (d)  Retraction.--No person shall be guilty of an offense
     under this section if he retracted the falsification in the
     course of the proceeding in which it was made before it became
     manifest that the falsification was or would be exposed and
     before the falsification substantially affected the proceeding.
        (e)  Inconsistent statements.--Where the defendant made
     inconsistent statements under oath or equivalent affirmation,
     both having been made within the period of the statute of
     limitations, the prosecution may proceed by setting forth the
     inconsistent statements in a single count alleging in the
     alternative that one or the other was false and not believed by
     the defendant. In such case it shall not be necessary for the
     prosecution to prove which statement was false but only that one
     or the other was false and not believed by the defendant to be
        (f)  Corroboration.--In any prosecution under this section,
     except under subsection (e) of this section, falsity of a
     statement may not be established by the uncorroborated testimony
     of a single witness.

According to the Associated Press, Curley denied that the assistant had reported anything of a sexual nature, calling it "merely 'horsing around,'" the grand jury report said. But he also testified that he barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus and that he advised Penn State President Graham Spanier of the matter.

The grand jury said Curley was lying, Kelly said, adding that it also deemed portions of Schultz's testimony not to be credible, reported the Associated Press.

Schultz told the jurors he also knew of a 1998 investigation involving sexually inappropriate behavior by Sandusky with a boy in the showers the football team used.

But despite his job overseeing campus police, he never reported the 2002 allegations to any authorities, "never sought or received a police report on the 1998 incident and never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower in 2002," the jurors wrote. "No one from the university did so."

Farrell said Schultz "should have been required only to report it to his supervisor, which he did."  Schultz reports to Penn State president Graham Spanier, who testified before the grand jury that Schultz and Curley came to him with a report that a staff member was uncomfortable because he'd seen Sandusky "horsing around" with a boy. Spanier was not charged, reported the Associated Press.

About the perjury charge, Farrell said: "We're going to have a lot of issues with that, both factual and legal. I think there's a very strong defense here."

No comments:

Post a Comment