Former Penn State President Graham Spanier and another top university official exchanged emails discussing an allegation that Jerry Sandusky molested a boy in a university shower in 2001 but ultimately decided against alerting child welfare authorities, NBC News reported Monday.
Spanier and former Vice President Gary Schultz, who headed the campus police department, agreed not to take the case to outside authorities out of concern for the retired assistant football coach, according to internal emails obtained by state law enforcement officials and given to NBC. The report aired on the "Today" show Monday.
Spanier, who was ousted in the wake of Sandusky's November arrest, did not immediately respond to an email message from The Associated Press.
The emails were discovered in the course of Louis Freeh's internal probe of the Sandusky scandal and "immediately turned over to the state attorney general," Penn State spokesman David La Torre told AP. Freeh, a former FBI director, was hired by the Penn State Board of Trustees to investigate, among other things, what school officials knew about Sandusky's conduct and what they did with the information.
La Torre declined to comment on the contents of the emails, but said "we will continue to cooperate fully with all legal processes to determine what happened and ensure personal accountability."
Sandusky's child sex-abuse trial began Monday with opening statements. He has denied the allegations that he abused 10 boys over 15 years.
Schultz, who is retired, told a grand jury that head coach Joe Paterno and assistant Mike McQueary reported the 2001 shower encounter "in a very general way" but did not provide details.
He and Athletic Director Tim Curley, who is on leave, are charged with lying to the grand jury, and with failure to properly report suspected child abuse. Both deny the allegations and are seeking to have the charges dismissed.
Lawyers for Curley and Schultz said in a statement that the NBC report "confirms that, as they testified at the grand jury, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz conscientiously considered Mike McQueary's reports of observing inappropriate conduct, reported it to the University President Graham Spanier, and deliberated about how to responsibly deal with the conduct and handle the situation properly."
But the attorney general's office, in a court filing in Schultz's perjury case Monday, said that it recently came into possession of emails between Schultz,
Curley and others "that contradict their testimony before the grand jury." Prosecutors also said that Schultz recently turned over a file he kept relating to incidents involving Sandusky.