Penn State ex-president Spanier leaves jail after 2 months

Aug 4, 2021, 12:58 AM | Updated: 12:59 pm

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — The former president of Penn State was released Wednesday after serving nearly two months in jail for endangering the welfare of children by his response to a report that Jerry Sandusky had been seen physically abusing a boy on campus.

Centre County Correctional Facility Warden Christopher Schell told the Centre Daily Times that Graham Spanier served 58 days. Spanier, 73, still faces two months of electronic monitoring at home.

Spanier did not testify at his trial. After being convicted by a jury of the single misdemeanor count in 2017, he told a judge he regretted not intervening more forcefully.

Spanier received a report from two of his top lieutenants in early 2001 that a graduate assistant football coach had happened upon Sandusky and the boy in a team shower on a Friday night. Prosecutors have said the boy has not been conclusively identified.

Sandusky was first charged nearly a decade ago, in November 2011, and is currently serving a decades-long term in state prison for a multi-count child molestation conviction. Spanier was charged the following year with a criminal coverup, although most of the original charges against Spanier were subsequently thrown out. Appeals had kept him out of jail until a judge enforced his sentence in May.

“He made a mistake and he’s going to pay for his mistake, but I don’t consider him to be a danger to society as I would a criminal,” Judge John Boccabella said at the recent hearing.

Spanier has said the abuse of the boy was characterized to him as horseplay. He and the two other top administrators did not notify police, and Spanier wrote in an email at the time that “the only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.”

Spanier also was sentenced to two years of probation, a $7,500 fine and 200 hours of community service.

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