After serving two months in prison, Graham Spanier must serve two months of house arrest. File Photo by PSUMark2006/Wikimedia
May 26 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday ordered former Penn State University President Graham Spanier to begin serving his prison sentence in July.
Visiting Berks County Judge John Boccabella said Spanier must report to prison July 9 to serve two months for his child endangerment conviction.
A jury convicted Spanier of one misdemeanor count of child endangerment in 2017 for being aware of possible child sexual abuse on the State College, Pa., campus but choosing to ignore it. State attorneys said Spanier knew about the issue as early as 2001 when coaching assistant Mike McQueary reported that he'd seen coach Jerry Sandusky and a boy showering naked in a locker room, but did nothing.
Defense attorneys insisted that Spanier was never told the conduct witnessed by McQueary was sexual or criminal in nature, and that it was wrong for authorities to criminalize one instance of bad judgment.
Spanier was originally set to serve his prison sentence in 2019 but a federal judge tossed his conviction, saying he was tried on child endangerment charges under laws that didn't exist at the time of his offense. An appeals court reversed that decision.
Following his release prison, Spanier will serve two months of house arrest. He can receive parole after serving the minimum term.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro welcomed Boccabella's order that Spanier begin serving his prison sentence.
"Today marks the end of a long road towards justice for the children endangered by Mr. Spanier's inaction -- choosing to cover up the abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky rather than reporting it to law enforcement," Shapiro said.
"No one is above the law, and my office will continue to pursue anyone who looks the other way in the face of child sexual abuse. There are consequences for failing to protect children in Pennsylvania."
Sandusky, an assistant football coach at the school between 1969 and 1999, who was allowed to remain close to the program for years afterward, was arrested in 2011 and found guilty seven months later of sexually abusing 10 young boys. He is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years. In 2013, the university agreed to pay nearly $60 million to settle potential legal claims from about two dozen other purported victims.