If put in the role of Spanier's defense attorney, here is what I would tell the jury tomorrow.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
In the case you will hear, the Commonwealth wants you to find Dr. Graham Spanier guilty for the inactions of others who were legally required to protect children from Jerry Sandusky.
When Penn State University officials learned of Sandusky showering with children in 1998, the police and child welfare officials conducted a full investigation of the matter.
Mr. Jerry Lauro, a program assistant with the Department of Public Welfare Children and Youth Services in Harrisburg, learned early in the 1998 investigation that Sandusky had showered with TWO children and had given each of them bear hugs while naked.
One of these boys later became known as Victim 6 because of Sandusky's conduct in the shower.
Later in the investigation, Mr. Lauro interviewed Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky admitted he had done the same thing with other children.
Mr. Lauro’s role in the 1998 investigation was to determine if it was safe for Sandusky to be around children.
Mr. Lauro determined that Sandusky was not a threat and his decision that abuse allegations were "unfounded" allowed Sandusky to continue to run the “victim farm” known as The Second Mile.
Mr. Lauro did not provide any guidance or advice to Penn State officials after the investigation.
He simply closed the investigation and drove back to Harrisburg.
Mr. John Miller of Centre County Children and Youth Services also participated in the investigation.
His role was to ensure protective measures were in place while the investigation was on-going. In other words, Jerry Sandusky was not to access children while under investigation.
He also failed.
According to the trial testimony in the Sandusky case, Jerry Sandusky was victimizing Victim 4 at that time.
The 1998 University Park police report also revealed that Sandusky was observing Little League baseball practices and was continuing to try to set up other activities so that he could interact with the eventual Victim 6.
None of these contacts should have occurred in 1998 because Mr. Miller was supposed to coordinate this protective action with Sandusky’s charity.
There is no evidence he ever told the charity that Sandusky was under investigation.
Mr. Lauro and Mr. Miller were legally required by their jobs to protect children.
Based on the plain letter of the law, Dr. Spanier's job had no such legal responsibility.
But there’s more.
The University Park police and State College police departments were involved in determining if there was sufficient evidence of criminal acts by Sandusky with regard to the 1998 incident.
Those individuals did not find sufficient evidence for then Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar to file charges.
Those who were trained law enforcement investigators determined that no crimes were committed by Jerry Sandusky and an officer of the court decided the same.
That was the information passed on to PSU officials in 1998.
Regardless, the Commonwealth will attempt to argue that because of this unfounded incident in 1998, Dr. Spanier understood that Jerry Sandusky was a threat to children.
That is a very, very, very big lie.
There is no evidence that Dr. Spanier ever learned that the 1998 incident involved Jerry Sandusky. Two vague emails were sent to Dr. Spanier and neither of them gave Sandusky’s full name. Moreover, there is no evidence that Spanier even read the emails or responded to them.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the 1998 incident provides a window into how your Commonwealth’s system for protecting children works.
Or more appropriately, doesn’t work.
In Dr. Spanier’s case, the Commonwealth also decided that a mandated reporter -- Dr. Jack Raykovitz -- who was the Executive Director of The Second Mile, a licensed child psychologist, and responsible for the care of the children who participated in Sandusky's charitable organization, should not be held responsible for his failure act on the very same information that former PSU Athletic Director Timothy Curley gave to Dr. Spanier.
Mr. Curley will testify that a report of inappropriate conduct between Sandusky and a child was reported to him in February 2001 and he passed that information on to Dr. Raykovitz.
Dr. Raykovitz discussed Mr. Curley’s report with Bruce Heim, who was also a mandated reporter as a member of the Board of Directors of Sandusky's charity and as a mentor of children who participated in the charity’s Friend Fitness program.
The Friend Fitness program was a sanctioned program of the charity and paired an adult and a child in unsupervised one-on-one workout sessions.
Jerry Sandusky used this program to legitimize his exercise activities with his eventual victims. These workouts took place on and off the PSU campus.
Mr. Heim stated the report from Mr. Curley was "a non-starter" and his rationale was:
“For five years, I worked out at the football facility, several times a week, and saw Jerry showering with children. I said I don’t think it’s relevant. It happens every day at the YMCA.”
Dr. Raykovitz and Mr. Heim, as leaders of a children’s youth organization, are held to a different legal standard than PSU officials because they were responsible for the safety and welfare of minor children.
They knew or should have known that Sandusky's conduct required a report to child welfare agents.
They failed to legally act in 2001 -- and beyond.
In late 2008, the charity’s leaders learned that Sandusky was under investigation for suspected child abuse. In January, he was "indicated" for child abuse and they decided to keep quiet about it.
The charity's board decided to let Sandusky continue to be the face of the charity so that he could continue to raise money.
Their silence also extended to the parents and children, who had no inkling that it was unsafe to be around Jerry Sandusky.
According to the testimony of Victim 9, he was victimized by Sandusky up until his 16th birthday in July 2009.
The Commonwealth is charging Dr. Spanier for endangering the welfare of Victim 9 -- but has made no such charges against those at the charity.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, something is very wrong here.
Based on the evidence you are about to hear in this case, it will become obvious that this prosecution was designed by the Commonwealth to sweep the failures of its child welfare agents, the police, and charity officials under the rug.
The Commonwealth's oversight of charities is lax and its child protection system performs abysmally.
The Commonwealth wants to bury these problems with a guilty verdict of Dr. Spanier.
Don’t let them do it.
The Sandusky case was not a Penn State problem – it was a State of Pennsylvania problem.