Penn State defendants plead not guilty to perjury

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 19, 2012 4:08 PM
Penn State defendants plead not guilty to perjury

By Mark Shade

HARRISBURG, Pa (Reuters) - Two Penn State University officials waived a chance to face a judge on Thursday and instead entered pleas of not guilty on paper to charges they lied to a grand jury about a child sex abuse scandal involving former coach Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and university finance official Gary Schultz, who was also head of campus security when the scandal broke last fall, had been set to appear in Dauphin County Court for arraignment on charges of perjury and failing to report abuse allegations to police.

Instead they opted to waive the arraignment and filed pleas of not guilty through court documents.

State prosecutors contend Curley and Schultz lied to a grand jury investigating accusations that Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, molested 10 boys over a 15-year period.

Sandusky, 67, has pleaded not guilty to the 52 counts leveled against him and remains under house arrest.

Sandusky's arrest on November 5 prompted the Penn State Board of Trustees days later to fire both iconic head coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier.

Penn State alumni have grown vocal about their opposition to how the board handled Paterno's sudden dismissal, which was carried out by phone. In three meetings with current university President Rodney Erickson, alumni criticized what they called a lack of due process for Paterno, who had been employed by the school for 61 years.

The Board of Trustees on Friday holds its first public meeting since Paterno was fired.

Penn State's Faculty Senate, an advisory panel representing professors that is also upset with how the board fired Paterno, was expected to meet next week on Tuesday to vote on a "no confidence" proposal regarding the board.

The motion will "ask for their resignations and constitute a Board of Trustees that is lean, clean, and probably under these circumstances pretty mean, with no more than nine or 10 members," according to the agenda listed on the Faculty Senate website.

Currently, the board allows for 32 members, according to the school's website.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Daniel Trotta)