HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – “Good morning,” said a friendly Gary Schultz as he walked hand-in-hand with his wife toward the Dauphin County Courthouse Monday.
The former vice president of Penn State University joined former Athletic Director Tim Curley in Courtroom 6. It had been more than five years since the two men were charged in connection with the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Despite denying wrongdoing and maintaining their innocence all along, each man pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of child endangerment.
They now admit having heard of a 1998 allegation against Sandusky. They also acknowledge being told by former assistant football coach Mike McQueary in 2002 that Sandusky molested a boy in a university shower. The two men knew of the allegations but did not properly report them to authorities, they admitted to a judge.
“Hats off to the judicial system that they stayed the course on this one and really honored the child victims in this case,” said Angela Liddle, President and CEO of Family Support Alliance, which works to prevent child abuse.
Liddle hopes the guilty pleas send a strong message.
“Whether you’re a university president, physician, guidance counselor, teacher, school bus driver, nurse, dentist, it doesn’t matter. If the law says you’re required to report child abuse, it’s a mandate and you ought to do it. Kids lives depend on it.”
Schultz, Curley and former Penn State President Graham Spanier were supposed to stand trial together next week. The Curley and Schultz plea likely means one thing.
“That seems to indicate, I’m speculating, but that seems to indicate that they’ve made a deal to testify against Spanier,” said Dauphin County Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo, who has no official role in the case but served as an ABC27 analyst during the Sandusky trial.
Does Chardo call it a prosecutorial victory for the attorney general’s office even though it got just a single misdemeanor plea from Curley and Schultz?
Too soon to tell, he said.
“If they’re going after Spanier and they feel they need these two fellas to help make that case because this was part of a conspiracy that was happening behind closed doors, then that’s the right call,” Chardo said.
It is possible, given Monday’s pleas, that Spanier’s defense team seeks a continuance, Chardo said.
Sentencing will be in a couple months and the judge could take Curley and Schultz’s cooperation into account. Though they could face up to five years, jail time is unlikely if they cooperate, analysts tell ABC27.
A court order bars attorneys and prosecutors from speaking to the press about the case. In a statement, the attorney general spokesman said it will have much to say “on this important case” once the Spanier trial has concluded.