Spanier trial moves to witness testimony, including former coach McQueary

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- On the first day of witness testimony in the criminal trial against Graham Spanier, Commonwealth attorneys began to lay the foundation as they try to prove the former Penn State President knowingly failed to report to the proper authorities that Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing young boys on the school's campus.

Eight witnesses testified for the state on Tuesday, including former football graduate assistant Mike McQueary. He claims to have witnessed Sandusky, a longtime football assistant coach, sexually abusing a child in the Lasch Football Building showers in February 2001.

McQueary said he heard "slapping sounds," and then saw Sandusky in the shower with a boy, "skin-to-skin," making "slow, subtle movements."

"I didn't know what to do," McQueary testified.

Eventually, he called his father, John, who told his son to come home. There, he told family friend and physician, Dr. John Dranov, and the next day, his head coach, Joe Paterno.

McQueary estimates it wasn't for another "7-to-10 days" did he hear from Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, who met with him alongside Gary Schultz, then the school's Vice President of Business and Finance and the supervisor for campus police. McQueary testified to telling the two about seeing Sandusky molest a boy in the Lasch Building showers.

Curley and Schultz pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of children, in exchange for testimony against Graham Spanier.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse in 2012, and is facing 30 to 60 years in prison.

The February 2001 scene with Sandusky and the young boy at the Lasch Building is at the heart of the case against Spanier. State attorneys will need to prove Curley, Schultz, and Spanier knew of the incident, yet chose to not alert authorities, such as police or children and youth services.

In opening arguments, Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte said of the trio, "The only thing necessary to let evil triumph is when men do nothing."

Schulte said Penn State had a "Jerry Sandusky problem," which Spanier was aware of dating back to a reported incident in 1998, when a mother claimed her son was sexually abused by Sandusky in a locker room shower. The incident was investigated by campus police and the Centre County District Attorney's office, and no charges were filed.

When the incident was reported to Spanier in 2001, Schulte argued that instead of telling law enforcement, the trio decided to tell Sandusky he was no longer allowed to bring children into campus facilities any longer.

However, the state plans to show with a "John Doe" witness, and also according to McQueary testimony, that Sandusky continually was allowed in football facilities, and he continued to sexually abuse boys.

Spanier's defense attorney Sam Silver said the trio made a decision regarding Sandusky which they felt was appropriate in light of the facts presented at the time.

"The Commonwealth is trying to criminalize a judgment call," Silver argued.

However, according to Fran Chardo, assistant District Attorney in Dauphin County, a "judgement call" can still be a crime.

"If it results in substantial harm to another person, and the person acted knowingly, that was virtually certain or at least reckless, judgement calls become crimes all the time," Chardo said. "The jury's job is going to be deciding what happened, what discussions were made, and whether or not the defendant acted in accordance with the law as is instructed by the judge."

Witness testimony will continue at 8:25 a.m. Wednesday.

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