Pennsylvania State University sued its insurance carrier in state court on Tuesday, asserting that the company was not honoring its obligation to cover legal claims stemming from the conduct of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted last year of sexually abusing boys. The Associated Press reported that the university’s complaint said the institution had been sued or contacted by more than two dozen claimants, but that the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Company had not provided the required coverage for those claims. A spokeswoman for the company told the AP that it would not comment on the lawsuit.
Pennsylvania prosecutors on Thursday filed several felony charges against Graham B. Spanier that accuse the former president of Pennsylvania State University of conspiring with subordinates to cover up child-abuse allegations in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Mr. Spanier maintains his innocence, and his lawyers blasted the state attorney general’s accusations. But some observers remain surprised at the rapid fall of one of higher education’s most prominent figures. Here’s a look at what they’re saying in light of the latest developments.
For more on this story, see this Chronicle article.
[Updated (11/1/2012, 12:50 p.m.) to include details from the attorney general's announcement.]
Graham B. Spanier, the former president of Pennsylvania State University, has been indicted on five charges related to the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, the state’s attorney general announced at a news conference on Thursday. The charges against the former president, who was forced out last year as news of the scandal unfolded, include one count of perjury, two counts of endangering the welfare of children, and two counts of criminal conspiracy, all third-degree felonies that are each punishable by up to seven years in prison. Prosecutors also added to the criminal charges against Gary C. Schultz and Timothy M. Curley, the Penn State administrators who are awaiting trial in January on perjury charges, according to The Patriot-News. At the news conference, the attorney general, Linda Kelly, called the Penn State officials’ actions a “conspiracy of silence.”
Moody’s Investors Service on Friday downgraded Pennsylvania State University’s long-term credit rating, anticipating that lawsuits stemming from the Sandusky sex-abuse scandal could have “substantial” consequences for the university’s finances. The ratings agency lowered Penn State’s $893-million in debt to Aa2, the third-highest of its 10 categories, from Aa1. The move also “reflects governance and institutional-culture challenges facing the university,” the agency said, noting that it could take the university a long time to embrace the recommendations outlined in Louis J. Freeh’s damning report that implicated top Penn State administrators in the scandal. Penn State’s new rating has a stable outlook, the agency said, because the university is likely to continue enjoying favorable student demand, donor support, and a strong research operation. In a written statement, the university said it took the downgrade seriously, though officials were not surprised by the move.
Gary C. Schultz, the former Pennsylvania State University senior vice president for business and finance who was charged with perjury for his role in the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, has asked a Pennsylvania court to try him separately from the other Penn State official who faces similar charges. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Mr. Schultz’s lawyer filed a motion on Monday seeking separate trials, and also indicated that Timothy M. Curley, Penn State’s athletic director who is on paid leave, would file a similar motion. The request said that the pair implicated each other several times during their grand-jury testimony, and therefore would not get a fair trial if one of them declined to testify while they were co-defendants. The two officials also face charges of failing to report suspected child abuse. Their trial is scheduled to begin in January.