Penn State's charged ex-president sits in front row at game
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier sat courtside at the school's men's basketball game against Nebraska on Saturday, making a rare high-profile appearance as he awaits trial on charges he hushed up child sex abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Spanier told The Patriot-News at halftime that he was "invited" to attend the game but wouldn't say by whom. He then said he "wasn't giving interviews." Nebraska narrowly edged out Penn State for the win, 68-64.
Spanier had been Penn State's president for 16 years when he was forced out after Sandusky's November 2011 arrest. He remains a faculty member but was placed on paid leave. He also served as chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1991 to 1995.
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 is serving a 30- to 60-year sentence and maintains his innocence.
Spanier was charged last November with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected child abuse and conspiracy. Former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz face the same charges.
The three are awaiting a preliminary hearing and have denied the accusations.
The abuse scandal rocked Penn State, bringing down Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno and leading the NCAA, college sports' governing body, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university's football program.
A university-sanctioned investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh accused Spanier and Paterno of participating in a cover-up to protect the school's image.
Paterno died almost a year ago. His family has firmly denied the allegations of a cover-up.