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“It’s overkill.” The initial conspiracy and endangerment case against Spanier and the two other administrators had languished for years, managed through multiple Pennsylvania attorneys general and dissected and reshaped by appellate court decisions.
A week before the trial was finally set to begin in March, Curley and Schultz agreed to plead guilty and testify against their former boss.
Reaction after the sentencing reflected the divisiveness of the case.
Angela Liddle, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, which provides training for schools, day care centers and others to recognize and report signs of abuse, said the punishments would not erase the damage to victims.
“He made a choice to protect his reputation, the reputation of his friends and the reputation of the university above the well-being of these children.
And that is inexcusable.” Boccabella said he wrestled with the decision.
“He was a complete and utter failure as a leader when it mattered the most,” Ditka said during Friday’s hearing.
At the center was Spanier, now 69, who once ranked among the nation’s most prominent and longest-serving university leaders.
Prosecutors with the state Attorney General’s Office contended that he decided to bury a claim that Sandusky had been seen showering with a boy one night in a campus locker room in 2001, three years after police investigated a similar allegation about the assistant football coach.
“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,” Spanier told Curley and Schultz in a 2001 email exchange, saying it was a “humane and a reasonable way” to deal with Sandusky.
Of the three men, Spanier ultimately received the lightest sentence — four to 12 months, with at least two months in jail and two more under house arrest.