Curley, Schultz, and Spanier of Penn State Sentenced to Prison

For endangering the welfare of a child, the former president, a senior vice president, and athletic director were sentenced by a Pennsylvania judge to a minimum of two months in prison, with varying additional confinement time among the three, fines, and probation for two years. A jury convicted the men of failing to report to law enforcement officials that they had received a report that former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, had molested a child in the shower. The three had offered a defense that they were not told that the episode was “overtly sexual.”

Hmmm. An assistant coach naked with a young boy in the football program’s showers should have at least raised a risk management issue and additional action. As a result of their inaction, Mr. Sandusky moved along assaulting other minor boys, and was convicted in 2012 of 65 counts of sexual abuse.
her Penn State casep — long before Judge Boccabella uttered the same phrase in handing down the sentences. To quote Judge Boccabella, “Why no one made a phone call to police is beyond me.”

The Barometer, having studied these cases for years understands why three bright people who have been called good people made such a decision. They framed the issue the way that they did because they existed in a culture that rewarded them for preserving Penn State’s football program and its reputation. They framed the issue within their sense of loyalty to an assistant coach and a desire to not cause trouble for Mr. Sandusky (their e-mails referred to their decision to just talk with him as the “humane” thing to do). The three men framed the issue as doing their job to protect Penn State and being noble(humane) in their treatment of a friend. Poor framing leads to really bad decisions, and this one was a doozy. Begin any decision with a basic question, “Is what we’re about to do legal?” If the answer is no, stop there! There just isn’t much room for conscientious objection when it comes to reporting statutes. If a child has been hurt, molested, or injured, you report. They did not, and thereby defeated the very purpose of child-reporting statutes — other children became victims.

Mr. Schultz said at his sentencing, “It sickens me to think that I might have played a part in children’s suffering.” Mr. Spanier said, “I deeply regret that I did not intervene far more carefully.” Truth be told, Mr. Spanier did not intervene at all. And Mr. Schultz didn’t just play a part — he enabled the molestation of young boys because he skirted his legal duty. Thus we end this tale of woe with 4 people in jail, victims sentenced to physical harm, emotional trauma, and a lifetime of psychological burdens, and a school that will carry some tarnish for decades to come. In the words of Shakespeare, “All are punished.”

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD.

The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards.

Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader’s Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio.

She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News.

In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles.

Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.

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