The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 4, 2012

Ex-PSU president seeks looser bail for travel

HARRISBURG — Former Penn State President Graham Spanier wants looser bail rules so he can travel outside Pennsylvania and overseas for family and professional reasons.

Spanier’s request filed last month said his domestic travel needs included visits to his second home in New York City and holidays with relatives in Iowa and his ill mother in Chicago.

Spanier, a tenured faculty member on leave, was charged last month in what prosecutors claimed was a “conspiracy of silence” that covered up complaints about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with boys in university athletics facilities. He is free on $125,000 unsecured bail and had to relinquish his passport. A judge also restricted his travel outside the state.

Spanier, 64, said he has “continuing contact” with officials in the Washington area “in the national security arena.” He said work on educational projects also required travel to New York and New Jersey.

He wants his passport to be returned so that he can travel in May to attend a relative’s wedding in Slovakia and to a Holocaust memorial event in his father’s hometown in Germany. He also cited a desire to travel to the United Kingdom for a project involving the U.S. Department of State.

The motion proposed having him contact a judge before foreign travel and having him return the passport upon his return.

The attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting Spanier, said travel permissions for Spanier should be considered by the court on a case-by-case basis.

“The commonwealth does not object to any specific request for domestic or international travel, only to a request that these be permitted without the need for seeking specific approval or leave from the court,” wrote Bruce Beemer, the chief of staff to Attorney General Linda Kelly.

Spanier faces a preliminary hearing next week on charges of endangering the welfare of children, obstruction, conspiracy, perjury and failure to properly report suspected abuse. He has asked the judge to delay that hearing.

Spanier had been university president for 16 years when he was forced out after Sandusky’s November 2011 arrest. He has denied the charges and has claimed he is being framed for political purposes.

Sandusky, 68, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for sexually abusing 10 boys. He maintains he is innocent and is pursuing appeals.

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