Key witness in Spanier trial regrets not doing more

 From left, former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz; for Penn State President Graham Spanier; and former Penn State director of athletics Tim Curley. (AP file photos)

From left, former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz; for Penn State President Graham Spanier; and former Penn State director of athletics Tim Curley. (AP file photos)

The primary witnesses for the prosecution are testifying Wednesday in the child endangerment trial of former Penn State President Graham Spanier.

Spanier is charged with failing to act aggressively enough to prevent football coach Jerry Sandusky from serially abusing young boys.

One of the witnesses — former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley — handled the case alongside Spanier, and has already said he wishes he’d done more.

Two weeks ago, Curley pleaded guilty to a child endangerment misdemeanor — a reduced charge. He told a defense lawyer that while the terms of the sentence played into his decision, the real reason for his plea is that he believes he should have done more.

After Curley, Spanier, and former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz first heard allegations Sandusky sexually abused a young boy in a school shower in 2001, they decided to call child protective services.

Then Curley changed his mind; he suggested they talk to Sandusky and ban him from bringing children on campus, and only call authorities if the coach resisted. The other two agreed.

But Curley testified that at the end of the day, the decision was up to Spanier.

A fundamental question in the case is whether Spanier fully understood the nature of Sandusky’s 2001 child abuse. Former coach Mike McQueary, who witnessed the assault, has said he told Curly and Schultz that it was explicitly sexual.

But Curley said he got the impression it was mostly “horseplay” after speaking to McQueary and to head coach Joe Paterno, who died in 2012. Curley and Schultz then relayed that information to Spanier.

After the 2001 incident, Sandusky went on to abuse at least four more boys.

Next to testify will be Schultz, as well as a former Sandusky victim identified only as John Doe.

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