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Courts & Justice

Judge Sets Hearing On Graham Spanier's Pending Jail Sentence

graham_spanier22.jpg
Matt Rourke
/
AP
In this June 2, 2017, file photo, former Penn State President Graham Spanier departs after his sentencing hearing in Harrisburg, Pa.

Graham Spanier's lawyers are expected to be in a Pennsylvania courtroom next month as a judge considers whether the former Penn State president should have to report to jail to start serving his sentence related to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Dauphin County President Judge John F. Cherry said Monday the May 26 hearing will address a motion, filed on Jan. 5 by the state attorney general's office, that sought to enforce Spanier's jail sentence.

A message seeking comment was left for Spanier's legal team.

Spanier was found guilty by a jury of a single misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of children by the way he responded to a complaint that Sandusky had attacked a boy in a Nittany Lions football team shower in 2001.

He was sentenced to a minimum of two months in jail, followed by two months of house arrest. Prosecutors have said they would support letting Spanier out on work release with medical furloughs.

Spanier, 72, has asked to be put on house arrest with electronic monitoring. His lawyers have said Spanier had heart surgery in 2019 and suffers from an advanced stage of prostate cancer.

A federal magistrate judge had vacated Spanier's conviction, but late last year, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored it.

Spanier was forced out as university president shortly after Sandusky's 2011 arrest on child molestation charges. A year later, Spanier was himself accused of a criminal cover-up, although many of those counts were later thrown out.

Spanier has said the abuse of the boy, who has not been conclusively identified by authorities, was characterized as horseplay. The incident was not reported to authorities after Spanier wrote in an email to aides 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.”

Spanier, who did not testify in his own defense, told Judge John Boccabella at sentencing that he regretted not intervening more forcefully.