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Jury foreman calls guilty verdict against ex-Penn State president a ‘mistake’

By Angela Couloumbis and Karen Langley | The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — The foreman of the jury that convicted former Pennsylvania State University President Graham B. Spanier of child endangerment said Thursday that he believes the verdict was a “mistake,” and he regrets not changing his vote and possibly forcing a mistrial.

Richard Black, a 78-year-old retired truck driver from Dauphin County, said he was the lone holdout at the end of deliberations but has made peace with the jury’s decision last week. Still, Black said if he saw Spanier today, he’d say “I’m sorry.”

His comments, in an interview in the state Capitol, are likely to deepen the divide over the split verdict and what it means to Penn State faithful.

After a day of deliberations, the Dauphin County panel of seven women and five men convicted Spanier, 68, of misdemeanor child endangerment for not taking steps to alert child welfare authorities in 2001 after learning Jerry Sandusky had been caught showering with a boy after hours in a campus locker-room shower.

The jury acquitted Spanier of the more serious felony conspiracy and endangerment charges, and downgraded what had been a felony endangerment charge to a misdemeanor.


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Jury foreman calls guilty verdict against ex-Penn State president a ‘mistake’