Radio PA’s Top 10 Pennsylvania Stories of 2012 – Part 4

As 2012 draws to a close, Radio PA is looking back at the top 10 Pennsylvania stories of the year as voted on by the news staff and other members of the statewide media. In this installment, we reveal the #1 story of the year, one which has dominated headlines dating back to last year.

Click the audio player to hear Radio PA’s recap of the story.


#1 – The Trial and Conviction of Jerry Sandusky   2012Top10-1FINAL
It was the trial of the century so far in June as Gerald Sandusky walked into a Centre County courtroom. The trial would last just over a week; the jury would need just a couple of days; and just like that, Sandusky was headed to prison, convicted on 45 of 48 counts related to the sexual abuse of young boys. In October, Sandusky received a 30-60 year prison term, a virtual life sentence for the 68-year old serial pedophile. Sandusky maintains his innocence, but he did not testify at his trial in Bellefonte last summer. Instead, we heard from Sandusky on the eve of his sentencing, as he released a rambling audio statement from jail. The conviction brought to an end one of the saddest chapters in Pennsylvania history, one that saw the once proud Penn State program humiliated and shattered at least 15 young lives. The next chapter will pick up in 2013 as several civil lawsuits are pending, along with an expected Sandusky appeal. The trial and conviction of former Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky is Radio PA’s #1 story of 2012.


Radio PA’s Top 10 Pennsylvania Stories of 2012 – Part 3

As 2012 draws to a close, Radio PA is looking back at the top 10 Pennsylvania stories of the year as voted on by the news staff and other members of the statewide media. In this installment, we reveal stories 4 through 2, beginning with what was arguably the biggest political fight of the year.

Click the audio players to hear Radio PA’s recap of each story.

#4 – Voter ID   2012Top10-4FINAL
The biggest political battle in Pennsylvania this year was played out in the courts rather than at the ballot box. 2012 may be forever known as the year of the Voter ID. It began when Republican lawmakers passed a bill requiring voters to show a valid form of photo ID when they vote. Governor Tom Corbett, a strong supporter of the measure, signed it into law prior to the primary election last spring. That election would be used as a “soft rollout” for the law with the intention that it would be in full effect in November. Court challenges led to an atmosphere of confusion for voters as the case went all the way to the PA Supreme Court. The justices sent the case back to Commonwealth Court where a final decision was made to allow the state to ask for the IDs, but with no obligation by the voters to show it. The law is set to be in full effect for the off-year elections in 2013, but additional court challenges are already in the works and a cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over the Voter ID law. Voter ID comes in as Radio PA’s #4 story of 2012.

#3 – The Penn State Sanctions   2012Top10-3FINAL
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University, many knew that the NCAA was lying in wait. Shortly after Sandusky’s conviction and the release of the Freeh Report which detailed the actions and inactions of PSU administrators, the NCAA dropped the hammer. The sanctions were among the harshest ever handed out, including a $60 million fine; 4-year bowl ban; the loss of scholarships; mandatory oversight; and the vacating of all football wins dating back to 1998. It’s that last sanction that had many scratching their heads due to the fact that the Penn State situation, as horrific as it was, had nothing to do with the on-field conduct of the team. Instead, the vacating of wins was seen as a slap at former Head Coach Joe Paterno, whose name was subsequently erased from the record books. Despite the intense media scrutiny and the defection of runningback Silas Redd and placekicker Anthony Fera, the Penn State football team came together to produce an unexpected 8-4 record under 1st-year Head Coach Bill O’Brien, who was named Big 10 Coach of the Year. The Penn State sanctions, and a group of extraordinary young men who played under them, rank as Radio PA’s #3 story of 2012.

#2 – The Death of Joe Paterno   2012Top10-2FINAL
Like Arlen Specter, Joe Paterno’s passing in January of this year marked the loss of an iconic Pennsylvanian. Despite the turmoil of his final months, Paterno is forever etched into the soul of this Commonwealth. His victories and his failings will always be a part of the Pennsylvania landscape, even after the removal of the statue erected in his honor at Beaver Stadium. In life, Paterno joked that he was fearful of leaving the game, afraid he would suffer the same fate as legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant, who passed away less than a month after retiring. Paterno’s death came just over 2 months after his dismissal as head coach in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The scandal has forever tainted the Paterno years at Penn State and the legacy of a man who donated millions to his school and community during his 6 decades at Penn State University, but thousands still lined up on a cold January day in State College to stroll past the coach’s closed casket and pay final respects. The death of Joseph Vincent Paterno is Radio PA’s #2 Pennsylvania story of 2012.


Coming soon….Radio PA’s #1 story of 2012.



Former Penn State President Graham Spanier Charged

Graham Spanier, who served as Penn State University’s president from 1995 through 2001, is the latest big name to face criminal charges in the ongoing Jerry Sandusky child sex case. Sandusky, the former assistant football coach, is in state prison serving a 30-60 year sentence for the molestation of young boys. He was convicted on 45 counts over the summer and was transferred to the state prison in Greene County this week.

Two other university officials, former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice-President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz, were charged perjury and failure to report the alleged abuse shortly after the Sandusky story broke. Curley is currently on paid leave, while Schultz retired in 2009. Both are awaiting trial in January.

Spanier was fired the same night as the late Head Coach Joe Paterno, and it has been widely speculated that the former president would face criminal charges himself after the release of the Freeh Report last summer. That report included a series of notes and emails dating back to 1998 showing that Spanier was informed of the Sandusky allegations. The Freeh Report findings listed Spanier as one of four people (along with Curley, Schultz and Paterno) who failed to protect children from a sexual predator, and the report stated that Spanier had failed in his role as university president.

Perhaps the most incriminating entry from the Freeh Report quotes Spanier in a written exchange with Curley in 2001. The two had just decided to deviate from a previously agreed-to plan to notify state officials about an alleged encounter between Sandusky and a young boy in the Lasch Hall showers, an incident infamously witnessed by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary. Instead of reporting the incident to the Department of Public Welfare and the chair of Sandusky’s Second Mile charity, Spanier and Curley decide to approach Sandusky himself and urge him to seek professional help. Spanier writes in a February 2001 email: “The only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and then we become vulnerable for not having reported it.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan announced the charges against Spanier Monday from the Media Center at the state capitol.  According to court documents, Spanier faces eight counts, including three charges for conspiracy, 2 for endangering the welfare of children, and one count each for perjury, obstruction and failure to report suspected child abuse.

Additional charges were also filed against Curley and Schultz on Thursday. In addition to the previous charges, each will now also be charged with conspiracy, obstruction and endangering the welfare of children.

The announcement comes just 4 days shy of the first anniversary of Sandusky’s arrest on child rape charges and 8 days from the anniversary of the firings of Spanier and Paterno on November 9th, 2011.



Jerry Sandusky is currently locked up in the Centre County Correctional Facility. He will appeal the conviction.

Sandusky Assigned “Home” Prison

Jerry Sandusky will serve out his 30 – 60 year sentence in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, at the State Correctional Institution at Greene.  Located in Waynesburg, SCI Greene houses nearly 1,800 inmates, but state corrections officials say Sandusky will be placed in protective custody to ensure his safety. 

It means Sandusky will have no bunkmate, additional supervision and an escort every time he leaves his cell.  He’ll get three showers a week, and one hour of individual exercise five days a week.  All meals will be served in his cell.  All visits will be non-contact.     

The once-famed assistant football coach was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse in June.  He received his sentence earlier this month and has spent the past few weeks at a suburban Harrisburg prison where he was undergoing evaluations.

Jerry Sandusky is currently locked up in the Centre County Correctional Facility. He will appeal the conviction.

Sandusky Seeks New Trial

Attorneys for Jerry Sandusky have filed post-trial motions seeking a new trial.  They’ve added Philadelphia attorney Norris Gelman to the defense team.

The filing in Centre County Court raises questions of insufficient evidence, insufficient time to prepare the defense and claims the statute of limitations had expired on some of the charges against the former Penn State assistant football coach.

Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 boys. He was  sentenced to serve 30 to 60 years in jail earlier this month.

Sandusky has maintained his innocence.

RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 10.12.12

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman and Matt Paul wrap up the Jerry Sandusky sentencing in Centre County, bringing you reactions and a three-minute statement from Sandusky himself. Also, a look ahead toward the prospects for a good holiday shopping season to boost a sluggish economy…

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:


Sandusky Sentenced

Ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will spend the next 30 to 60-years in state prison.  Specially Presiding Judge John Cleland handed down the sentence, this morning, after hearing statements from several victims and a rambling ten minute speech from Sandusky himself. 

“I believe that the sentence the court imposed today was a wise and proper one, and that it reflected the seriousness of the defendant’s crimes, the harm that he caused and the need to remove him from society,” state prosecutor Joe McGettigan told reporters outside the Centre County Courthouse. 

For the 68-year-old Sandusky, this means that he would be nearly 100-years old, if he’s ever a free man again.   Sandusky was sentenced about three months after he was convicted on 45-counts of child sex abuse, and nearly a year after the scandal initially broke at Penn State.   

State prosecutor Joe McGettigan

McGettigan says Sandusky displayed deviance, narcissism and an unwillingness to accept responsibility.  “In fact, his statement today was a masterpiece of banal self-delusion.” 

Jerry Sandusky will continue to fight the charges, however, and his lawyers are already working on their appeals.  “I can get you three continuances for a parking ticket; I can’t get one continuance for Jerry Sandusky,” defense attorney Karl Rominger explained from the courthouse lawn.  “I think that fundamentally taints the fairness of the process.”  Both Rominger and defense attorney Joe Amendola lamented that they had only four and a half months to mount Sandusky’s defense on scores of serious charges. 

In ten days, Sandusky is scheduled to go to the State Correctional Institution Camp Hill where he will be processed, and then placed in a state prison to be determined at a later date.

(WBUS Program Director Tony Ricciardi reported from Bellefonte for Radio PA)

Jerry Sandusky is currently locked up in the Centre County Correctional Facility. He will appeal the conviction.

Sandusky Sentencing Date Set

Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse in late June.  Today, nearly three months later, Specially Presiding Judge John Cleland has scheduled a 9am hearing on October 9th to determine whether Sandusky is a sexually violent predator.  Immediately following that hearing, Sandusky will be sentenced at the Centre County Courthouse.  Given the number of counts and the seriousness of the crimes, it is expected that the 68-year-old Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars.   Since his conviction, Sandusky has maintained his innocence from inside the county lockup.

The Focus Finally Shifts to Football, But Uncertainty Remains

It’s been an unprecedented off-season for the Penn State football program, but trials, memorial services and NCAA sanctions give way to actual football this Saturday as the Nittany Lions open their 2012 season against Ohio University.

While the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal will still be on everyone’s minds, and reminders of child sex abuse victims will be evident everywhere at Beaver Stadium including on the players’ uniforms, for three hours this weekend Penn State fans can once again focus on the game they love. Many things have, of course, changed since the last time Penn State took the field. Legendary Head Coach Joe Paterno passed away in January and the team is operating under harsh sanctions imposed by the NCAA.

New Head Coach Bill O’Brien is the man being asked to pick up the pieces of a broken football program. He has drawn rave reviews for his handling of a difficult situation at Penn State so far. Fans, school officials, and even the governor of Pennsylvania, have remarked at how well O’Brien has taken the reins, but no one knows yet if the New England Patriots’ former Offensive Coordinator can win on the field as a Head Coach.

Fans get their first taste of the new era of Penn State football at noon on Saturday.



RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 08.10.12

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman and Matt Paul bring you what may be Governor Tom Corbett’s most extensive comments to date on his role in the Jerry Sandusky investigation. You’ll also hear what Pennsylvania district attorneys would like to do with some of the $60 million in fines Penn State will be paying; and what happens to all those new stadiums and arenas after the Olympic Games are over?

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast: