Sentencing day for Graham Spanier

06.02.17 | Bob Price

Will Graham Spanier go to jail?

This we know.

There is no agreement on the question in the legal briefs filed in advance of the former Penn State's president's scheduled sentencing in Dauphin County court Friday for child endangerment.

State prosecutors will go to court seeking jail time for Spanier's role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

His defense team, meanwhile, is seeking probation, with substantial community service and fines.

The decision will be made by Senior Judge Judge John Boccabella.

Spanier, 69, was convicted in a March jury trial for his collective decision with his then-athletic director Tim Curley, and his then-senior vice president for business and finance Gary Schultz, to keep a 2001 allegation about misconduct by Sandusky from police and child welfare officials.

Other attorneys say post-trial doubts by a juror, absent some evidence of misconduct or jury tampering, aren't legal grounds for a mistrial.

That decision, has been well-documented by email threads from the time, was a key opportunity lost to stop Sandusky, a serial sexual predator cloaked in the reputation of youth mentor.

As a result, the prosecutors have said, at least four additional youths were victimized before Sandusky was stopped.

State prosecutors, in a memo unsealed this morning, said the evidence shows that Spanier "did turn his back on children for the sake of his personal reputation ...

"In all likelihood, Spanier could have spared the victimization of multiple children had he chosen to stand up for the children he had a duty to protect," Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka summed up.

"Instead of standing up, Spanier chose to move on.

"The sentence should show that there are no competing considerations when it comes to the protections of children."

Prosecutors indicated they will recommend a sentence for Spanier approaching 9 to 18 months - the high end of the standard range suggested in state sentencing guildelines for this charge - or more in court on Friday.

The defense is countering with an argument that Spanier has already paid dearly for his involvement in the Sandusky scandal at Penn State, including public shaming, a loss of employment and reputational harm.

Those factors have already provided a major deterrent effect for others in Spanier's position, they added.

"Graham Spanier has fallen from being one of the most highly-regarded leaders in American education to being associated with one of the worst episodes in the history of American education, and he will never get beyond that," wrote defense lawyers Samuel Silver and Bruce Merenstein.

Because of his career record, the fact that he is not a future risk to the public, and mounting health concerns - Spanier is being treated for prostate cancer and a heart condition that could require a valve replacement operation - the defense team asserted there is no public good to be served by incarcerating the 69-year-old Spanier.