The cast of characters in the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal

The main players in the Penn State child-sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, including three men facing charges and the key witness in a preliminary hearing underway in Harrisburg to determine whether there is substantial evidence for the case to proceed to trial.


Role: Penn State's longtime president, he was forced out by university trustees after Sandusky's arrest but remains a tenured faculty member currently on administrative leave.

Background: An investigation led by ex-FBI director Louis Freeh concluded that Spanier failed in his duties as president by not informing trustees about the allegations against Sandusky or the subsequent grand jury probe. Spanier told investigators he wasn't notified of any criminal behavior by Sandusky during his 16 years as president.

Spanier initiated a lawsuit this month against Freeh. Legal paperwork filed in Centre County, where Penn State is located, disclosed little about the nature of his claims but checked off a box on a court system form that described the case as "slander/libel/defamation."

Charges: Perjury, child endangerment, conspiracy, obstruction, failure to report suspected child abuse. He denies the allegations.



Role: Since-fired assistant football coach. He was a graduate assistant in 2001, when he says he witnessed Sandusky pressing himself against a boy in a team shower. McQueary took his complaint to coach Joe Paterno, who alerted university administrators.

Background: He testified at Sandusky's trial that he had "no doubt" Sandusky was molesting the boy. He has since filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the university, claiming he lost his $140,000-a-year job and was defamed by administrators.

Latest testimony: The star witness at the hearing for the three officials accused of a cover-up, McQueary testified that Paterno told him "Old Main screwed up" — referring to university administrators — in its response to the scandal and warned McQueary that the school would try to make him a scapegoat.



Role: Penn State's athletic director, on leave to complete the last year of his contract.

Background: Curley fielded McQueary's complaint about Sandusky in a team shower with a boy in early 2001, and told a grand jury he instructed Sandusky not to be inside university athletic facilities with any young people but said he did not think that anything criminal had occurred.

Charges: Child endangerment, conspiracy, obstruction. He denies the allegations.



Role: Penn State vice president for business and finance, now retired.

Background: Schultz told the grand jury that Paterno and McQueary reported the 2001 shower incident "in a very general way" but did not provide details. He said he believed Sandusky and the boy were "horsing around" but that no criminal activity occurred.

Charges: Child endangerment, conspiracy, obstruction. He denies the allegations.



Role: Former assistant football coach and founder of The Second Mile charity for children, convicted of molesting 10 boys over 15 years.

Background: Arrested in November 2011 after a long investigation by a statewide grand jury. He had been a successful defensive coach for the Nittany Lions for 30 years, and prosecutors say he used his fame in the community and his charity to attract victims.

Charges: Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault of a young child, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, child endangerment.

Status: Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, effectively a life term.



Role: Longtime football coach, was told by McQueary in 2001 that he saw Sandusky and a boy in a shower on campus and, in turn, told Curley and Schultz.

Background: Penn State's head coach from 1966 through 2011 and major college football's winningest when he retired, Paterno offered to resign at the end of the 2011 season but trustees ousted him for "failure of leadership" surrounding allegations about Sandusky. He died of lung cancer in January 2012. Freeh said Paterno "was an integral part of this active decision to conceal" the abuse and that his firing was justified.

The NCAA has since vacated 111 of Paterno's 409 career wins as part of a package of scandal-related sanctions against the football team and university. Paterno's family continues to maintain that he didn't know Sandusky was a pedophile and didn't cover up anything.



Role: Leader of an investigative team tasked with determining how the abuse occurred and recommending changes, as well as reviewing Penn State's handling of sex crimes and misconduct accusations.

Background: A former federal judge who spent eight years as director of the FBI, Freeh was hired by Penn State's board of trustees in June 2012. His firm produced a 267-page report that said Spanier, Paterno, Curley and Schultz, in order to avoid negative publicity for the school, "repeatedly concealed critical facts" and "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade."



Role: Now the governor of Pennsylvania, he was attorney general when the investigation into Sandusky was launched.

Background: Corbett is an ex-officio member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, although he did not actively participate until after Sandusky was charged.