Former university president faces criminal charges

As Birmingham readers may recall, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years this summer. Last month, he was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Now the school's former president, along with other top officials, face criminal charges for their alleged role in the scandal.

Graham Spanier has been charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, conspiracy and failure to report child abuse. Penn State's former athletic director and vice president also face those charges. They previously pleaded not guilty to perjury and failure to report child abuse charges.

The investigation into Jerry Sandusky began last November. The school later hired the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to look into their handling of the case. The charges against Spanier are reportedly based on information that was discovered in emails during the investigation.

Despite the tragedy surrounding the Jerry Sandusky case, Penn State officials are entitled to a vigorous defense, just as every other American is entitled to that right. Only after all of the evidence has been presented in a court of law can a conviction be secured. As with all criminal cases, the accused remains innocent unless prosecutors can prove they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is unclear how the case against Spanier will turn out. However, when faced with serious criminal charges, residents in Birmingham and beyond would likely benefit from working with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will vigorously fight the allegations.

Source: Reuters, "Ex-Penn State president charged in Sandusky sex abuse case," Mark Shade, Nov. 1, 2012

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