A former Penn State vice president on Tuesday asked a judge to throw out charges that he lied to a grand jury investigating former football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and that he did not properly report suspected child abuse.
Gary Schultz said his statements to a grand jury that the allegations against Sandusky he fielded from a graduate assistant in 2002 were ”not that serious” and that it wasn’t clear a crime occurred are opinions that cannot be proved false.
”Perjury prosecutions rarely rest on expressions of opinion or belief,” wrote Schultz defense lawyer Tom Farrell in court records first obtained by The Associated Press.
Schultz also joined a motion filed Monday by co-defendant Tim Curley that challenged the failure-to-report charge on the grounds the law was different in 2002, when Schultz and Curley, the university’s athletics director, were told of Sandusky being in the campus showers with a young boy.
Farrell also sought a more precise description of the part of Schultz’s grand jury testimony that prosecutors allege constituted perjury.
Farrell argued that the ”defendant must not be left guessing as to which statements he is defending against nor as to basic information as to why such statements are false.” Through a spokeswoman, Farrell declined to comment further.
A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said Tuesday the agency had not received the filings but would review them when it had.
During a preliminary hearing for Schultz and Curley in December, former graduate assistant Mike McQueary testified that he saw Sandusky engaging in a sexual act with a boy in a football locker-room shower. He said that he first spoke about it with his father and then contacted head football coach Joe Paterno.
Paterno, who was fired as coach after the arrests but was not a target of criminal investigators, told the grand jury that McQueary recounted something of a ”sexual nature” but that he did not press for details.
About a week and a half later, McQueary said, he met with Curley and Schultz, and the content of that meeting is central to the charges against the two administrators.
McQueary testified in December he told them he had seen Sandusky and a boy, both naked, in the shower after hearing skin-on-skin slapping sounds.
”I would have described that it was extremely sexual and I thought that some kind of intercourse was going on,” McQueary said under oath in a Harrisburg courtroom.
He also testified that he saw Schultz, whose duties as senior vice president for business and finance included oversight of the university police department, as a police authority.
”I thought I was talking to the head of the police, to be frank with you,” he said. ”In my mind it was like speaking to a (district attorney). It was someone who police reported to and would know what to do with it.”
Schultz, 62, retired after being charged on Nov. 5. Curley, 57, is on leave from the university. Both live in Boalsburg, near State College, where the university is based.
Sandusky, 68, has denied allegations he sexually abused 10 boys over a 15-year period. He faces 52 criminal counts and could go to trial in mid-May. On Monday, a judge ruled Sandusky can have supervised contact with most of his grandchildren and, in a win for the defense, determined the case will be heard by jurors chosen from the greater State College area.
The case also resulted in the departure of university president Graham Spanier, who has not been charged with any crime.
Paterno, a sainted figure at Penn State for almost half a century but scarred by the sex abuse scandal, died of lung cancer last month at age 85.