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Sunday, November 6, 2011
Penn State to pay AD's legal costs

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State says it is barring from campus a former football coach accused of sexually assaulting eight boys, and it also is paying legal costs for two school officials charged with perjury and failing to alert police about what they knew in the case.

Prosecutors say retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight boys over 15 years.

Athletic director Tim Curley and school administrator Gary Schultz are accused of perjury and failing to alert police -- as required by law -- after a witness told them he saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in a practice facility shower.

University spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the allegations against Curley and Schultz concern how they fulfilled their responsibilities as employees, so Penn State is paying for their counsel.

Lawyers for all three men say they're innocent.

"Despite a powerful eyewitness statement about the sexual assault of a child, this incident was not reported to any law enforcement or child protective agency, as required by Pennsylvania law," state Attorney General Linda Kelly said.

There's no indication that anyone at school attempted to find the boy or follow up with the witness, she said.

But Schultz's attorney says the Pennsylvania law requiring some school officials and others to report suspected child abuse does not apply to the university's senior vice president for finance and business.

The comments by Pittsburgh lawyer Thomas J. Farrell offer a preview of the defense he plans to use on the charge of failing to report faced by his client. Farrell said he will seek to have the charge dismissed.

Farrell told The Associated Press on Sunday that the mandated reporting rules only apply to people who come into direct contact with children. He also said the statute of limitations for the summary offense with which Schultz is charged is two years, so it expired in 2004.

The grand jury report that lays out the accusations against the men cites the state's Child Protective Services Law, which requires immediate reporting by doctors, nurses, school administrators, teachers, day care workers, police and others.

Neither Schultz nor Curley appear to have had direct contact with the boys Sandusky is accused of abusing, including the one involved in the eyewitness account prosecutors say they were given.

Prosecutors say Sandusky encountered victims through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk children.

The two school administrators fielded the complaint from an unnamed graduate assistant, and from coach Joe Paterno. The Patriot-News of Harrisburg has identified the graduate assistant as Mike McQueary, now the team's wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. McQueary was out of town on a recruiting trip Sunday, according to his father, John McQueary, who declined to comment about the case or say whether they are the two named in the grand jury report.

The law "applies only to children under the care and supervision of the organization for which he works, and that's Penn State, it's not The Second Mile," Farrell said of his client. "This child, from what we know, was a Second Mile child."

Messages left later Sunday seeking comment from Frederiksen with the attorney general's office, and from Curley's lawyer, Caroline Roberto, were not immediately returned. Farrell said it was accurate to say the allegations against Curley are legally flawed in the same manner.

Farrell said he plans to seek dismissal at the earliest opportunity. Both Schultz and Curley are scheduled to turn themselves in at a district judge's office in Harrisburg on Monday.

"Now, tomorrow is probably not the appropriate time," Farrell said. "We'll bring every legal challenge that is appropriate, and I think quite a few are appropriate."

As a summary offense, failure to report suspected child abuse carries up to three months in jail and a $200 fine.

"As far as my research shows, there has never been a reported criminal decision under this statute, and the civil decisions go our way," he said.

The explosive sex abuse scandal and allegations of a cover-up rocked Happy Valley after Sandusky, once considered Paterno's heir apparent, was charged with sexual assault.

Sandusky retired in 1999 but continued to use the school's facilities for his work with The Second Mile. The case took on an added dimension Saturday when charges were announced against Curley and Schultz.

"This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys," Kelly said Saturday in a statement.

Paterno, who last week became the coach with the most wins in Division I football history, wasn't charged, and the grand jury report didn't appear to implicate him in wrongdoing.

"Joe Paterno was a witness who cooperated and testified before the grand jury," said Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office. "He's not a suspect."

Frederiksen called questions about whether Paterno might testify premature and speculation.

"That's putting the cart way ahead of the horse," Frederiksen said. "We're certainly not going to be discussing the lineup of potential witnesses."

Under Paterno's four-decades-and-counting stewardship, the Nittany Lions became a bedrock in the college game, and fans packed the stadium in State College, a campus town routinely ranked among America's best places to live and nicknamed Happy Valley.

Paterno's teams were revered both for winning games -- including two national championships -- and largely steering clear of trouble. Sandusky, whose defenses were usually anchored by tough-guy linebackers -- hence the moniker "Linebacker U" -- spent three decades at the school. The charges against him cover the period from 1994 to 2009.

Sandusky, 67, was arrested Saturday and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts. Curley, 57, and Schultz, 62, were expected to turn themselves in on Monday in Harrisburg.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.