Another chapter in the long, sundry case of Penn State and Jerry Sandusky further emphasizes the challenges faced by Edelman PR, La Torre Communications and the institution itself as all work to restore the school’s previous reputation for greatness in both sports and academics.
Unfortunately, this latest update will undoubtedly inflict more damage on the school: it concerns staff attempts to cover up, deny or, at the very least, minimize the scandal. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly just announced charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, and failure to report suspected child abuse against former University President Graham Spanier.
That’s quite a list–and we didn’t even mention the additional charges brought against the school’s former athletic director and vice president of business and finance, both of whom await trial in January.
Spanier’s greatest offense? After stepping down, he claimed that no one had ever mentioned the possibility of ongoing child abuse during his time at Penn State–but the email trail told a very different story.
Penn State’s board members and PR reps have been wishing Spanier would slink away and disappear for some time: first they argued over whether he’d resigned on his own volition after “going rogue and altering a press release that had been a collaborative effort”, and then he participated in this very ill-advised interview for some unknown reason.
Penn State and its PR organizations will never have to defend Graham Spanier again. Unfortunately, the law is far from done with him–and his case will expose the public to yet another angle on a tragic tale that can never be untold.