HARRISBURG – Former Penn State president Graham Spanier wants a judge to modify his bail condition barring contact with current or former members of the university’s board of trustees – in part because he’s neighbors with some of them – while he awaits trial on charges he covered up sexual abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky.
Spanier’s lawyers filed a motion Monday that said the restriction in a Dec. 31 Dauphin County court order is impractical and may be unconstitutional if prosecutors can’t show he is likely to try to intimidate witnesses.
“Graham Spanier lives in State College, as do many of the past or current members of the university board of trustees,” his lawyers wrote. “State College is not a large city, and contact between (the) defendant and trustees is inevitable; for example, two of the former trustees live in Spanier’s apartment complex and he occasionally meets them in the elevators.”
He encounters others socially, or while shopping, they wrote.
Spanier argues that another provision, barring contact with any witnesses, is not practical because the attorney general’s office has not disclosed who it plans to call at trial. A call seeking comment from prosecutors was not immediately returned.
Last week, a judge allowed Spanier to travel outside Pennsylvania while free on bail, as long as he provides five days’ notice, but he cannot make foreign trips, as he had sought.
Spanier and two other top administrators face charges that include obstruction and perjury for allegedly covering up complaints in the Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for a 45-count child sexual abuse conviction. Sandusky is expected to appear in court in Bellefonte Thursday for a hearing into his post-sentencing motions, in particular his claim that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for trial.
Spanier was forced out as Penn State president after 16 years in November 2011, soon after Sandusky was arrested, along with two other former university administrators.
Spanier, athletic director on leave Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz await a preliminary hearing and deny the allegations.