Pennsylvania Court Won’t Speed Up Lawsuit vs. Penn State

A request to force Graham Spanier to proceed with a defamation lawsuit against Penn State will wait until his criminal trial.

An appeals court has not changed a judge’s decision that former Penn State University president Graham Spanier’s civil lawsuit against the school be placed on hold until the criminal case against him is completed.

The Superior Court says it did not have jurisdiction. Spanier — was who indicted in 2012 on perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice charges related to the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal — is planning to sue the school for defamation. The request to move forward with the case came from former FBI director Louis Freeh, who completed a report on the Sandusky affair for the University.

But a judge ruled earlier that forcing Spanier to move forward with his claim now would be detrimental to his full airing of the facts while criminal charges loom.

“Plaintiff may be at risk of exposing himself to criminal liability by proceeding,” Judge Jonathan Grine wrote at that time. “Conversely, should plaintiff choose to refrain from testifying, from including certain allegations in his complaint, or from presenting certain evidence in his pursuit of the civil case, an underdeveloped and incomplete record may result.”

Spanier was Penn State president from 1995 to 2011.