Arguments begin in what may be final trial of Sandusky scandal

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier faces charges that he failed to report suspected child sex abuse in the last remaining criminal case in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier faces charges that he failed to report suspected child sex abuse in the last remaining criminal case in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The prosecution and defense have started laying out their arguments in day two of the trial of Graham Spanier — the former Penn State president whose tenure included the years assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky serially abused children.

The case being set up revolves around whether Spanier’s decision not to inform child protective services of Sandusky’s abuse was criminal or just a bad judgment call.

The state prosecutor opened Tuesday with a thump on the lectern.

“The only thing necessary for evil to thrive,” he said, “is for men to do nothing.”

He said Sandusky — who sexually abused young boys time and time again — is that evil. And he added that by not reporting the crime to Child Protective Services, Spanier and his colleagues let it happen.

Spanier’s defense argued there was no conspiracy to keep the Sandusky situation quiet, noting Spanier and others did take action they thought was appropriate.

Among the key witnesses the prosecution plans to call this week are former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley, who already took plea deals for lesser charges.

There will also be testimony from an unnamed victim of Sandusky, who was abused after Spanier and the others knew about the situation.

Spanier declined a plea deal.

He is charged with three felony counts — two of endangering the welfare of children and one of conspiring to do so.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.