Judge orders former Penn St. President Spanier to jail May 1

Graham Spanier walks to the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, March 20, 2017. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Graham Spanier walks to the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, March 20, 2017. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier must report to jail by May 1 to start serving a criminal sentence for his handling of a complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy, under a judge’s order made public Wednesday.

Judge John Boccabella said Spanier may do his time in the jail near his home in State College if county jail wardens approve. If not, he has to report to the Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg. The judge also gave his approval for Spanier to participate in a work-release program.

Spanier, 70, has remained out on bail since his 2017 conviction by a jury of a single misdemeanor count of child endangerment. He was sentenced to a minimum of two months in jail and two months of house arrest.

A lawyer for Spanier declined to comment Wednesday. The attorney general’s office, which prosecuted Spanier, also did not comment.

Spanier was forced out as university president in November 2011, days after Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, was first charged with child molestation. Spanier was charged a year later, although many of the counts against him were thrown out prior to trial.

Two high-ranking administrators under Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz, pleaded guilty to child endangerment on the eve of trial and testified against him.

The state Supreme Court in February declined to take up Spanier’s appeal, leaving in place a lower court’s decision that had upheld his conviction.

Last month, Spanier filed a federal petition asking a judge to vacate his conviction, arguing that it involved a version of the law that wasn’t in place at the time of the 2001 shower incident and challenging how the statute of limitations was applied to his case.

Spanier did not testify on his own behalf and told Boccabella at sentencing that he regretted not intervening more forcefully.

He has said Sandusky’s attack on the boy was characterized to him as horseplay.

A Penn State spokeswoman said Wednesday Spanier remains a tenured faculty member on administrative leave.

Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence and recently won an order for a new sentence. He continues to assert his innocence.

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.