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Friday, November 2, 2012 - Page updated at 07:30 p.m.

Former Penn St. president faces cover-up charges

By The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The "conspiracy of silence" that protected Jerry Sandusky extended all the way to the top at Penn State, prosecutors said Thursday as they charged former university president Graham Spanier with hushing up child sexual-abuse allegations against the former assistant football coach.

Prosecutors also added counts against two of Spanier's former underlings, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who were already charged with lying to a grand jury.

"This was not a mistake by these men. This was not an oversight. It was not misjudgment on their part," said Linda Kelly, the state attorney general. "This was a conspiracy of silence by top officials to actively conceal the truth."

Spanier's lawyers said the charges were a politically motivated attempt by Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania "to cover up and divert attention away from the fact that he failed to warn the Penn State community about the suspicions surrounding Jerry Sandusky" when he was attorney general. Corbett appointed Kelly to replace him when he became governor last year. Kelly denied any political motivation behind the charges.

Curley's lawyer, Caroline Roberto, said he was innocent of all charges, as he has asserted in the past. She said the new documents were being reviewed and would have a more comprehensive comment later. Schultz also has maintained his innocence; his lawyer did not return a message seeking comment.

At the Capitol, Kelly said all three men "knowingly testified falsely and failed to provide important information and evidence."

Spanier was charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy. Curley and Schultz face new charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction and conspiracy.

The charges were filed with a suburban Harrisburg district judge, whose office said Curley and Schultz were expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon, with Spanier tentatively scheduled to appear Wednesday. The charges came nearly a year to the day that Sandusky was arrested.

Sandusky, who spent decades on the Penn State staff and was defensive coordinator during two national-championship seasons, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He has maintained he is innocent and was transferred to a maximum-security prison Wednesday, where he is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence.

Spanier, 64, had been university president for 16 years when he was forced out after Sandusky's November 2011 arrest. Spanier remains a faculty member but was placed on paid leave Thursday.

Kelly sidestepped the question when asked if longtime football coach Joe Paterno, who died of lung cancer in January, would have faced charges were he alive.

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