Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier was sentenced to at least two months in prison on May 26, 2021.AP Photo/Matt Rourke
A judge ordered the former president of Penn State behind bars, after upholding a conviction against him in connection with ignoring a complaint against prolific child abuser Jerry Sandusky.
Graham Spanier was instructed to report to jail on July 9 to serve at least two months for his 2017 conviction of endangering the welfare of children. The decision was reversed by a federal judge over a legal technicality in 2019, and that reversal was overturned by an appeals court.
Spanier, who was forced out of his role amid Sandusky’s dozens of child abuse charges, will also be required to serve two months of house arrest when he is released from the Centre County Correctional Facility.
He was charged of not acting on a complaint from another coach who was disturbed by seeing Sandusky molest a young boy in the shower in 2012.
Spanier said the abuse of the boy was described to him as horseplay, and he did not call the cops.
In an email to other administrators at the time, he wrote: “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, 72, told the judge he regretted not alerting authorities at his sentencing Wednesday.
“He made a mistake and he’s going to pay for his mistake, but I don’t consider him to be a danger to society as I would a criminal,” Judge John Boccabella said.
Spanier remains a tenured faculty member at the university, where he is on administrative leave, a spokesperson said.
“Today marks the end of a long road towards justice for the children endangered by Mr. Spanier’s inaction — choosing to cover up the abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky rather than reporting it to law enforcement,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement released after the hearing.
Spainer’s attorney argued that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it would be “blind to reality and callous” to jail the aging convict.
“Fortunately, things are not as dire as they were a year ago,” Boccabella retorted.
The judge also sentenced Spainer to two years of probation, a $7,500 fine and 200 hours of community service.