While opening arguments are under way in the child sexual assault trial against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, NBC News is reporting that unnamed sources tell them top school officials could face more charges for allegedly concealing what they knew about Sandusky's suspected conduct.
"Internal e-mails and documents they say show former President Graham Spanier and others discussed whether they needed to tell authorities about a 2001 allegation involving a late-night encounter between a naked Sandusky and a young boy in the Penn State shower room. The sources say documents show Penn State even did legal research on the issue. But in one e-mail exchange, two sources say, Spanier and former vice president Gary Schultz agreed it would be 'humane' to Sandusky not to inform social services and the incident never got reported."
Sandusky faces 52 counts that he sexually assaulted 10 boys over 15 years. Some of the accusations occurred before he retired as the Nittany Lions' longtime defensive coordinator in 1999. Sandusky, 68, has maintained his innocence.
[Related: Jurors shown photos of accusers]
According to the Centre Daily Times, Penn State officials released a statement in response to the NBC report:
"In the course of former FBI Director Louis Freeh's independent investigation, e-mails were discovered and immediately turned over to the State Attorney General. In deference to the legal process, the (u)niversity cannot comment further on specifics of the ongoing legal case as it unfolds. We continue to work with the State Attorney General, the US Attorney and Judge Freeh in their investigations into this matter. We will continue to cooperate fully with all legal processes to determine what happened and ensure personal accountability."
Shultz and former athletic director Tim Curley already face perjury and failure to report charges related to the Sandusky investigation. Their lawyers told NBC that the emails are proof that they "conscientiously considered" the Sandusky allegations and reported it to Spanier. NBC said attorneys for Spanier, who was fired in the scandal's wake, did not return their calls.