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E-mails shed light on how Penn State officials responded to report on Sandusky

By Mike Dawson, McClatchy Newspapers –

BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Four e-mails from 2001 give a glimpse into how three Penn State administrators discussed responding to a report Jerry Sandusky was seen in a shower molesting a young boy.

CNN aired a report Friday night about the e-mail exchanges among former athletic director Tim Curley, former vice president Gary Schultz and former Penn State President Graham Spanier. The e-mails were turned up by Penn State’s third-party investigative team led by Louis Freeh and given to the state Attorney General’s Office.

The report said Sandusky’s name was not mentioned. Instead, he was referred to as “the subject” or the “person.”

According to the report, Schultz sent an e-mail to Curley, on Feb. 26, 2001, about “talking with the subject” and contacting The Second Mile and Department of Public Welfare.

The report said Curley responded the next night, writing to Spanier and copying Schultz on the e-mail. Curley wrote, apparently referring to Joe Paterno, in part, “After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell them about the information we received and tell them we are aware of the first situation.”

Curley also commented on getting “professional help” for Sandusky, according to the report.

Spanier responded a few hours later, saying “I am supportive” and 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. But that can be assessed down the road.”

Spanier also called it a “humane and a reasonable way to proceed.”

Schultz responded the next day, according to the report, saying, “This is a more humane and upfront way to handle this.” The report said Schultz said they’d inform The Second Mile and then “play it by ear” about going to the “other organization.”

Curley’s reference to the “first situation” is presumably a 1998 investigation by Penn State police into Sandusky showering with an 11-year-old. The case was not prosecuted, and Curley told the grand jury investigating Sandusky that he wasn’t aware of the 1998 investigation.

When asked to respond to Curley’s writing about having knowledge of the “first situation,” a spokeswoman for Curley’s attorney said she couldn’t respond to that at this time.

Curley and Schultz are facing perjury and failure to report abuse charges. They maintain their innocence.

The incident was reported by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who testified at trial he thought the incident was sexual in nature by the sounds he heard and the positioning of Sandusky’s body against the young boy’s body. But he testified he didn’t see intercourse.

Sandusky was acquitted of the most serious charge from that allegation, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, but convicted on 45 of 48 counts related to 10 victims and awaits sentencing.

Spanier has not been charged and is in a legal battle with the university about whether he can have access to old e-mails. He said in a legal suit that he needs them to properly respond to the investigation the university is having done on the scandal.

Martine Charles, a spokeswoman for the attorneys representing Curley and Schultz, said in a statement that the “responsible and ‘humane’ thing to do” was assess the troubling but vague allegation from McQueary.

“Faced with tough situations, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions,” the statement said.

A Penn State spokesman declined to comment.

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