HARRISBURG — The former Penn State athletic director who pleaded guilty last week to child endangerment testified Wednesday he now thinks his response to a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy was inadequate.
Tim Curley, a prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial of former university president Graham Spanier, said he felt at the time they and fellow administrator Gary Schultz did "what we thought was appropriate" by banning Sandusky from taking children into team facilities but not alerting police or child-welfare authorities.
"At the end of the day, I wish I would have done more," Curley said during 90 minutes of testimony.
Curley provided new details about a 1998 investigation that was prompted by a woman's complaint that Sandusky had bear-hugged her son in a football team shower. He said he notified Joe Paterno about it then, contradicting Paterno's grand jury testimony six years ago that 2001 was the first time he was aware of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky.
Paterno told The Washington Post before he died in 2012 that he was completely unaware of the 1998 investigation.
"You know it wasn't like it was something everybody in the building knew about," Paterno told the paper five years ago. "Nobody knew about it."
Curley testified that he did not have any conversations with Spanier about the 1998 incident, which ended with a decision by the district attorney that criminal charges were not warranted.
"I'm sure I was glad it was concluded, and they didn't find any criminal behavior," Curley told jurors. "I'm sure that was a relief."
Curley said his description in a 2001 email to Spanier of a first "situation" was a reference to 1998, and an indication that Spanier knew what he was talking about. Spanier has denied any awareness of the 1998 investigation.
Paterno summoned Curley and Schultz to his home in February 2001 to report that graduate assistant Mike McQueary had just notified Paterno he had seen Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in the team shower. McQueary testified on Tuesday he was certain he characterized what he saw as a sexual act to both Paterno and Curley, but Curley contradicted that version of events.
Curley said Paterno did not mention that Sandusky and the boy were naked, instead recalling that the coach described it as "horseplay, wrestling in the shower."
Still, the 1998 incident was on his mind, Curley said.
"I don't know exactly at what point that 1998 came into my focus again, but certainly it did, and it did sound similar," Curley testified.
A prosecutor asked Curley if McQueary, when meeting with Curley and Schultz in 2001, had described to him that something sexual had occurred. Curley's response was emphatic: "No, sir."
"I thought Jerry (Sandusky) had a boundary issue, a judgment issue that needed to be addressed," Curley said.
Curley said he made no effort to determine the identity of the child in the shower with Sandusky.
"Looking back now, I should have," he testified.
Curley, Schultz and Spanier had an email exchange in 2001 in which they first decided to report Sandusky to child-welfare authorities, but after Paterno came back from an overseas trip, Curley notified the others he wanted to change the plan. Together they agreed on a revised approach that no longer involved contacting the state Department of Public Welfare.
Curley said he could not recall the conversation he and Paterno had about it, as referenced in the contemporaneous email exchange among the three administrators.
"I don't remember the specific conversation, what his reaction was," Curley told jurors.
An investigator told jurors that four of the eight young men who testified during Sandusky's trial that he had abused them were abused after the 2001 incident McQueary witnessed. Spanier is accused of endangering children by how he responded to the 2001 complaint.
Curley also disclosed that prosecutors agreed as part of his plea that if he can provide proof of medical necessity, he will be allowed to serve any jail time on home confinement. The sentencing for him and Schultz, who pleaded guilty to the same offense last week, has not been scheduled.