Graham Spanier, the former Pennsylvania State University president, was convicted Friday of endangering children by failing to act on signs that Jerry Sandusky was a serial sex predator, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. After nearly 12 hours of deliberation, a Dauphin County jury found Spanier guilty of a misdemeanor count of endangerment. He was acquitted of a second endangerment count, as well as a felony conspiracy charge. The verdict was a stunning blow to Spanier, 68, who had proclaimed his innocence, and to his supporters, who fiercely defended him and accused prosecutors of overreaching and unfairly staining the university. His lawyer promised an appeal.
The trial seemed an opportunity to settle an issue that for more than five years divided the Penn State community: whether university leaders deserved blame for not recognizing or stopping Sandusky’s assaults on children. Prosecutors said that despite knowing about a 1998 police investigation into a claim that Sandusky showered with a boy, Spanier agreed not to report a similar claim from assistant coach Mike McQueary: that he saw Sandusky assault a young boy in a campus locker-room shower after hours. That inaction, prosecutors argued, was one step that enabled Sandusky to sexually abuse at least four more children in the years to come. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who this year took over the office that spent nearly a decade investigating and prosecuting the Sandusky case, said the verdict showed no one is above the law.ing to report the abuse of children to authorities,” he said.