APNewsBreak: PSU official’s lawyer shapes defense

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HARRISBURG, PA. (AP) - The Pennsylvania law requiring some school officials and others to report suspected child abuse does not apply to a Penn State administrator who’s accused of keeping quiet about allegations that a former football coach molested a boy in a shower, the administrator’s attorney said Sunday.

The comments by Pittsburgh lawyer Thomas J. Farrell offer a preview of the defense he plans to use on the charge of failing to report faced by his client, Gary C. Schultz, the university’s senior vice president for finance and business. Farrell said he will seek to have the charge dismissed.

The charge is part of a broader case centered on retired Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is accused of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years. Schultz, 62, and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, 57, were both charged Saturday with failing to report to state and county officials that a witness told them he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a naked boy in the showers of a team practice facility in 2002.

Schultz and Curley were both also charged with perjury. Lawyers for all three men say they are innocent.

Farrell told The Associated Press on Sunday that the mandated reporting rules only apply to people who come into direct contact with children. He also said the statute of limitations for the summary offense with which Schultz is charged is two years, so it expired in 2004.

The explosive charges are surprising both for what they detail and their contrast to the image of Penn State’s football program. Under the leadership of Joe Paterno, who’s won more games than any coach in Division I history, the Nittany Lions have become a bedrock in the college game. For more than four decades, Paterno’s teams have been revered both for winning, including two national championships, and largely steering clear of trouble.

Paterno is not implicated in the case.

Joe Paterno was a witness who cooperated and testified before the grand jury,” said Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office. “He’s not a suspect.”

Frederiksen called questions about whether Paterno might testify premature and speculation.

“That’s putting the cart way ahead of the horse,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to be discussing the lineup of potential witnesses.”

In a statement on Sunday, Paterno said that, if true, the charges were “shocking.”

“The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling,” he said. “If this is true we were all fooled, along with scores of professionals trained in such things, and we grieve for the victims and their families. They are in our prayers.”

Paterno said that while he did what he was supposed to do with the one accusation brought to his attention, he was “deeply saddened” by the current allegations.

The grand jury report that lays out the accusations against the men cites the state’s Child Protective Services Law, which requires immediate reporting by doctors, nurses, school administrators, teachers, day care workers, police and others.

Neither Schultz nor Curley appear to have had direct contact with the boys Sandusky is accused of abusing, including the one involved in the eyewitness account prosecutors say they were given. Prosecutors say Sandusky encountered victims through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk children.

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