Ex-Penn State officials in Sandusky case want perjury charge dropped

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 16, 2012 3:13 PM
Ex-Penn State officials in Sandusky case want perjury charge dropped

By Mark Shade

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Attorneys for two ex-Penn State University officials charged with failing to report suspected child sex abuse by a former assistant football coach and then lying about their involvement asked a judge on Thursday to dismiss the perjury charge against them.

Former Penn State Athletic Director Timothy Curley and retired Vice President Gary Schultz were charged with perjury in the wake of Jerry Sandusky's arrest last winter on charges he had sex with 10 boys over a 15-year period. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 counts of child molestation and is in jail awaiting sentencing. He faces up to 370 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Curley and Schultz lied to a grand jury about a 2001 report to them by former graduate assistant Mike McQueary that Sandusky had raped a 10-year-old boy in the university's football locker room shower.

Before Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas Judge Todd Hoover, the attorneys contended Curley and Schultz told the truth.

Curley told the grand jury "that he met with Mike McQueary, that Mike McQueary told him he saw Jerry Sandusky in the shower with a boy, they were naked, they had bodily contact, that Mr. McQueary was very upset, and he thought it was extremely inappropriate," his attorney, Caroline Roberto, told the court.

"That is the truth and that is completely consistent with what Mike McQueary said," Roberto said.

"He lied. He had reason to lie," Bruce Beemer, deputy Pennsylvania attorney general, said in defending the perjury charge against Curley.

Tom Farrell, Schultz's attorney, said he is confident his client will win the case despite the findings of a report by ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh that implicated Schultz as having an active role in the university's handling of the Sandusky case.

"The Freeh report has no evidentiary value," Farrell said to reporters following the 90-minute hearing.

Neither Curley, 58, nor Schultz, 62, attended the hearing, which did not address the second charge against each of failing to report suspected child abuse. That will be argued at a later hearing.

Hoover did not rule at Thursday's hearing and did not indicate when he would do so. No trial date has been set.

The Sandusky case rocked Penn State and prompted the firing in November of university President Graham Spanier and head coach Joe Paterno, who won more games than any other major college football coach.

Paterno died of lung cancer in January.

(Editing by Dan Burns and Xavier Briand)