Lawyer to probe Penn State University grand jury who investigated Jerry Sandusky case

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania judge has named a special prosecutor to examine whether secrecy rules were violated in relation to the grand jury that investigated Jerry Sandusky and three former Penn State administrators who are currently facing criminal charges.

The Associated Press on Wednesday obtained the Feb. 8 order in which Judge Barry Feudale appointed attorney James M. Reeder, giving him six months to look into the matter.

The order relates to the 33rd Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, which issued reports in 2011 and 2012 that led to molestation charges against Sandusky and perjury charges against former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz.

Pennsylvania investigative grand juries often work on more than one matter, and it was unclear from the document whether the possible secrecy violations were related the Penn State cases or other cases before the panel.

But Feudale has recently been trying to sort out a legal dispute involving whether former Penn State lawyer Cynthia Baldwin should have been present at a grand jury proceeding, and his order made specific reference to a section of the state's criminal procedure rule titled "Who May Be Present During Session of an Investigating Grand Jury."

That section reads:

"All persons who are to be present while the grand jury is in session shall be identified in the record, shall be sworn to secrecy as provided in these rules, and shall not disclose any information pertaining to the grand jury except as provided by law."

Feudale also charged Reeder with looking into potential violations of another section, titled "Disclosure of Testimony Before Investigating Grand Jury." He also asked that the inquiry examine a law that criminalizes disclosure of grand jury proceedings by anyone but witnesses and another law that makes it a crime to obstruct the administration of law or other governmental functions.

In relation to the obstruction law, Feudale highlighted a portion that said it applied to "breach of official duty or other unlawful act."

Reeder has been an employee of the attorney general's office. A spokeswoman for the office could not immediately confirm whether he remains on the staff, and offered no immediate comment about the court order.

Lawyers for Spanier, Curley and Schultz have maintained their clients' right to legal counsel was violated by Baldwin's actions when the men testified before the grand jury in early 2011. Their request to have her barred from testifying at their preliminary hearing on charges filed in November is currently before Feudale.

The three are accused of what former Attorney General Linda Kelly said was a conspiracy to conceal reports that Sandusky was behaving inappropriately with boys.

Sandusky, the school's former assistant football coach, was convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a decades-long state prison sentence. He maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals.

Baldwin is a former state Supreme Court justice and former Penn State trustee. Her lawyer, Charles De Monaco, has said she "at all times fulfilled her obligations to the university and its agents."

Schultz, Curley and Spanier face charges of perjury, obstruction, conspiracy, endangering the welfare of children and failure to properly report suspected abuse. They all dispute the allegations.
 

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