HARRISBURG, Pa. – Two former senior administrators at Penn State testified Wednesday they regret how they handled a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy, more than a week after they both struck plea deals and became witnesses against former university president Graham Spanier.
Former athletic director Tim Curley told jurors in Spanier's child endangerment trial that he and former vice president Gary Schultz did "what we thought was appropriate" at the time by banning Sandusky from taking children into team facilities but not alerting police or child-welfare authorities.
"At the end of the day, I wish I would have done more," Curley said.
Schultz said he took a plea because he felt he had been "deficient" for not reporting it.
"I mean, to me it's pretty obvious that it would be good to have somebody take a look at what happened," Schultz testified, but added that for about 10 years, until the year Sandusky was charged, he somehow had concluded in his own mind that the Department of Public Welfare had been alerted.
Curley provided new details about a 1998 investigation that was prompted by a woman's complaint that a naked Sandusky had bear-hugged her son in a football team shower. He said he notified Joe Paterno about it then, contradicting Paterno's grand jury testimony six years ago that 2001 was the first time he was aware of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky.
Paterno told The Washington Post, shortly before he died in 2012, that he was completely unaware of the 1998 investigation.
"You know it wasn't like it was something everybody in the building knew about," Paterno told the paper. "Nobody knew about it."
Sandusky, the school's former assistant coach under Paterno, was convicted in 2012 of sexual abuse of 10 boys and sentenced to at least 30 years. The charges against Sandusky led the university to fire Hall of Fame coach Paterno and eventually strike civil settlements with at least 33 young men over claims of abuse at Sandusky's hands.
Curley testified that he did not have any conversations with Spanier about the 1998 incident, which ended with a decision by the district attorney that criminal charges were not warranted.
"I'm sure I was glad it was concluded, and they didn't find any criminal behavior," Curley told jurors. "I'm sure that was a relief."
Paterno alerted Curley and Schultz to a report by graduate assistant Mike McQueary of having seen Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in the team shower. McQueary testified on Tuesday he was certain he characterized what he saw as a sexual act to Paterno, Schultz and Curley, but Schultz and Curley contradicted that version of events.
Curley said Paterno did not mention that Sandusky and the boy were naked, instead recalling that the coach described it as "horseplay, wrestling in the shower."
A prosecutor asked Curley if McQueary, when meeting with Curley and Schultz in 2001, had described to him that something sexual had occurred. Curley's response was emphatic: "No, sir."
Schultz said McQueary described Sandusky as having his arm around the boy, and Schultz considered it inappropriate but not sexual.
Curley, Schultz and Spanier had an email exchange in 2001 in which they first decided to report Sandusky to child-welfare authorities, but after Paterno came back from an overseas trip, Curley notified the others he wanted to change the plan. Together they agreed on a revised approach that no longer involved immediately contacting the Department of Public Welfare.
An investigator told jurors that four of the eight young men who testified during Sandusky's trial that he had abused them were abused after the 2001 incident McQueary witnessed. One of those victims, now 28, testified anonymously on Wednesday.
Curley also disclosed that prosecutors agreed as part of his plea that if he can provide proof of medical necessity, he will be allowed to serve any jail time on home confinement. Curley's condition was not disclosed on Wednesday.