According to an email exchange cited on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Friday night, Penn State administrators developed a plan for dealing with reports of Jerry Sandusky’s interactions with a minor in 2001 in which they agreed to talk to the former coach before alerting authorities -- though no report to authorities was ever made.
Susan Candiotti, a national correspondent with the program, reported that CNN obtained four email exchanges between former University President Graham Spanier, former interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz and former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley.
Sandusky was found guilty last week on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 boys he met through his charity, The Second Mile.
The first email cited in the report, dated Feb. 26, 2001, was an exchange between Schultz and Curley about a three-part plan to deal with allegations of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual misconduct with young boys. This email came 16 days after former assistant football coach Mike McQueary told Joe Paterno about an incident he witnessed in an on-campus shower area between Sandusky and the person referred to as “Victim 2” in the Sandusky case, according to court documents.
Sandusky was found not guilty on one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse related to the incident involving "Victim 2" but was found guilty on four other counts of abuse related to this incident.
Schultz, to Curley in the email, wrote of a plan to “talk with the subject…contacting the…charitable organization [Second Mile] and contacting the Department of Welfare.” “The subject” in this case referred to Sandusky.
The next night, in an email to Spanier, Curley changed his mind about the course of action that he and Schultz would take, according to the CNN report. Instead of going directly to the authorities, Curley wrote that he would rather talk to Sandusky first, according to the report.
“After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps,” Curley said in the email, according to CNN. “I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person…tell him about the information we received…[and] tell him we are aware of the first situation.”
The "first situation" refers to a separate shower incident in 1998 involving Sandusky and a boy, who is referred to as “Victim 6” in the Sandusky case.
Curley wrote that he planned to tell Sandusky that “we feel there is a problem” and offer “professional help” and “at some point soon inform his organization [Second Mile,]” and “maybe the other one,” according to the report.
According to the report, a source with knowledge of the emails said that the other organization he’s referring to is child welfare.
If Sandusky is “cooperative,” Curley wrote, according to the report,” we would work with him…if not, we do not have a choice and will inform the two groups.”
CNN reported that two hours later, Spanier responded and agreed with Curley’s plan of action.
“I am supportive,” he wrote in an email, according to the report. “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. But that can be assessed down the road.”
Spanier also called the plan “humane and a reasonable way to proceed,” according to the report.
A day later, Schultz wrote an email to Spanier and Curley about his thoughts on the plan, according to the report.
“This is a more humane and upfront way to handle this,” he said in the email cited in the report. “We will inform his organization, with or without his cooperation…We can play it by ear to decide about the other organization.”
Although the men discuss plans to report to outside authorities, authorities said that no one ever reported suspected misconduct involving Sandusky to any outside agency, according to the report.
Curley and Schultz have both been charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse in connection with the Sandusky case. A pretrial hearing for their case has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on July 11 in the Dauphin County Courthouse, according to court documents.
Their lawyers, in a statement to CNN, said:
“As Governor Tom Corbett stated, ‘If we are going to do this case, we had to have the best possible case to go against somebody like Mr. Sandusky who was…loved by everybody…carried out of the football stadium on the shoulders of his football team…’ For Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno, the responsible and ‘humane’ thing to do was, like Governor Corbett, to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague, but troubling allegations. Faced with tough situations, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions.”
A spokesman for Paterno’s family told CNN that neither he nor Paterno’s family has seen any emails, and claims that Paterno never communicated by email. He said that Paterno testified truthfully to the grand jury in January 2011.
Tom Kline, the attorney for the person referred to as “Victim 5” in the Sandusky case, told CNN that he was shocked about the emails.
“It is unquestionable that had these men not engaged in a concerted, conscious, collaborative effort not to report this to authorities that the young man who I represent would not have been assaulted in the showers some six months later,” he said. “Here we see what appears to be on the face, reckless conduct.”
The lawyer went on to say that one of the more shocking details from this CNN report was that Curley changed the plan in dealing with Sandusky, according to the content in the emails, right after he spoke to Paterno.
Penn State is currently facing several separate investigations by different parties. In addition to former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s investigation, the U.S. Department of Education, the NCAA and United States Attorney, Middle District of Pennsylvania have launched their own investigations into Penn State’s actions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.