Spanier along with suspended university Athletic Director Tim Curley and ex-vice president Gary Schultz are expected to appear in a Dauphin County magistrate court Friday for arraignment on five felony counts perjury, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child and three misdemeanor counts of conspiracy, failure to report abuse and obstruction.
Spanier's attorneys attempted to shift the attention from their client to Gov. Corbett, who began the Sandusky investigation during his stint as the state's top prosecutor and has been consistently criticized for not arresting the former Penn State assistant football coach as soon as the first victim came forward in 2009.
"These charges are the work of a vindictive and politically motivated Governor working through an un-elected attorney general, Linda Kelly, whom he appointed to do his bidding and who will be a lame duck five days from now," the statement read. "There is no factual basis to support these charges,"
A spokesman for Penn State declined to comment, except to say that Spanier, who was fired as president in the wake of Sandusky's arrest last year but remained a tenured member of the faculty, would be placed on leave until the resolution of the case.
The criminal counts against Spanier come nearly a year after Sandusky's arrest set off the largest scandal in the history of college athletics and his eventual ouster along with another of Penn State's largest figures-former head football coach Joe Paterno.
A university-backed internal investigation this summer concluded that Spanier and Paterno had some knowledge of earlier complaints against Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, but failed to notify authorities.
In some cases, the investigative team led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh concluded that Spanier actively worked to frustrate state authorities looking into the case.
Days after the release of Freeh's report, Spanier issued several statements characterizing the idea that he knew anything about Sandusky's crimes as "absolutely wrong."
Many of the allegations in the presentment unsealed Thursday mirror conclusions made by Freeh's investigators including that Spanier, Curley and Schultz not only had specific knowledge of sexual accusations lodged against Sandusky in 1998 and 2002 but actively discussed how to handle them.
After the mother of an 11-year-old boy reported that Sandusky had molested him in 1998 in a locker room shower, the administrators allegedly kept each other updated on the status of the investigation over e-mails.
"Curley anxiously asked Schultz for status updates on at least three occasions with phrases like "anything new in this department?" and "any further update."
All three men would later claim that they had limited knowledge or memory of the subsequent investigation by Penn State and State College police.
No charges were ever filed, though the case resulted in a 95-page police report. According to Thursday's presentment, then-Penn State police Chief Tom Harmon had the report filed separately from other criminal investigations because Schultz, his direct supervisor, had concerns that "the media might make inquiries if the incident were placed on the regular police log."
"This would make the report very difficult to locate unless someone specifically knew the identifiers of the case," the presentment read.
Three years later, a then-graduate assistant came forward with his allegation that he had seen Sandusky molesting a boy in a football locker room shower. The account set off another flurry of activity among Schultz, Curley and Spanier, prosecutors said.
Again, they exchanged e-mails that investigators described as coded messages in which they debated what to do with Sandusky, "the individual," his victims, "his guests," and the allegation, "his situation."
Prosecutors allege Spanier ultimately signed off on a plan that involved Curley confronting Sandusky about the accusations but not reporting it to outside authorities should he confess.
The three used their "legal requirement to report this information as a bargaining chip," the presentment read. "Thus, if Sandusky agreed to a particular course of action they would not notify proper authorities."
But even once state prosecutors began looking into Sandusky's background in 2009, Spanier, Schultz and Curley allegedly continued to frustrate investigators' efforts.
Subpoenas requesting all documents related to Sandusky from 1998 and 2001 went substantially unreturned until earlier this year - two years after they were first submitted.
"None of the documents provided were material or pertinent to the misconduct and crimes of Sandusky," the presentment said.
Additionally, prosecutors alleged Gary Schultz kept a secret file on Sandusky on a bookshelf in his office. After his initial arrest in November, he purportedly had his secretary bring the file to his house.
Investigators only learned of the cache of documents - which included many of the e-mails and handwritten notes used to bring Thursday's new charges - after the secretary turned over copies of the files she had secretly made for herself.
"They had concern for the university. They had concern for each other. They even had concern for Jerry Sandusky," State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said during Thursday's news conference. "But the one fact that you'll find lacking is any concern for the children who were victimized or any other children who might be victimized in the future."
Curley and Schultz already faced charges of perjury and failure to report abuse in connection with the case. Both men have entered not guilty pleas and are scheduled for trial in January, though prosecutors said Thursday that trial is now likely to be delayed.
If convicted, Spanier, Curley and Schultz could each face up to 28 years in prison.
Contact Jeremy Roebuck at 267-564-5218, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeremyrroebuck on Twitter.
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