Case vs. three Penn State officials to move ahead

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Case vs. three Penn State officials to move ahead

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up abuse complaints about Jerry Sandusky lost a set of rulings Tuesday, allowing their criminal cases to move forward.

Judge Barry Feudale denied an attempt to throw out the grand jury report backing up the accusations and ruled against two other defense requests. As the judge who oversaw the grand jury, Feudale said he no longer has jurisdiction.

Feudale said he would not have granted the defendants' request that the charges be thrown out and emphasized that the case was out of his hands once the grand jury issued its report. But the judge did provide an analysis of the defense arguments that, he said, led him to conclude their motions lacked merit.

Defendants Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Graham Spanier are charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.

The three had sought to exclude the testimony of Penn State's former general counsel Cynthia Baldwin, based on her actions as she accompanied the men to grand jury appearances in Harrisburg in early 2011. The defendants argued that Baldwin's actions violated their right to legal counsel, but Feudale said it "strains credulity to infer that they were somehow deluded or misrepresented by attorney Baldwin."

"In hindsight, perhaps I erred in not asking follow up questions about the role of corporate counsel Baldwin," Feudale wrote. "I regret and perhaps committed error in not asking any follow-up questions, but while I am unaware what the response would have been, I fail to discern how such would persuade me at this stage why presentments should be dismissed."

The attorney general's office and a spokeswoman for Curley's legal team offered no immediate comment. Lawyers for Spanier and Schultz did not immediately return phone messages.

Sandusky, a retired Penn State assistant football coach, was convicted in June of abusing several boys, some on campus. Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence but maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals.

Curley is on paid leave to finish out the final year of his contract as the school's athletic director. Schultz has retired as the university's vice president for business and finance. Spanier was forced out as university president the week after the other two and Sandusky were charged, but he remains a tenured faculty member.

The grand jury's report described in detail the behind-the-scenes conversations and decisions being made in late 2010 and in 2011 among the men, as Baldwin met with them after they were subpoenaed as part of the Sandusky investigation.

"Each personally and directly assured her that they knew of no information or documents involving alleged misconduct or inappropriate conduct by Jerry Sandusky," the grand jury wrote.

Baldwin testified to the grand jury that Spanier "specifically requested that she keep him informed of everything regarding (the Sandusky) investigation," the jury wrote.

In November, Curley and Schultz joined together to file one motion to prevent Baldwin from taking the stand against them.

The motion said Baldwin had violated attorney-client privilege by disclosing what they told her about the Sandusky matter, and that lawyers may not testify against their clients. Spanier filed a similar motion and made a similar argument.

Feudale said his review of Baldwin's testimony led him to conclude it was "circumspect and circumscribed. It was not a violation of the lawyer-client privilege, but rather was related to her belated awareness of the commission of alleged criminal acts and was in accordance with her responsibilities as an officer of the court."

Baldwin, who spent two years on the state Supreme Court, appointed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell, is also a former chair of the Penn State Board of Trustees. The university replaced her as general counsel last year.

La Salle suffers demoralizing loss to struggling UMass

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La Salle suffers demoralizing loss to struggling UMass

AMHERST, Mass. -- Zach Lewis scored a career-high 37 points, including six three-pointers, and Massachusetts pulled away from La Salle 84-71 on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak.

Lewis, whose 37-point effort was the best for any player in the Atlantic 10 this season, hit nine of his 16 field goal attempts overall and was a perfect 13-for-13 at the free throw line. Dejon Jarreau added 20 points and four three-ponters for UMass (14-15, 4-12).

Pookie Powell hit five 3-pointers and scored 24 points, and B.J. Johnson added 20 points to lead La Salle (14-13, 8-8).

Both teams shot similar percentages and had similar three-point totals, but the Minutemen finished with a plus-14 advantage at the free throw line.

La Salle remained within striking distance but a 13-4 stretch for UMass midway through the second half pushed its lead to 63-51. The Minutemen kept the Explorers at arm's length the rest of the way.

Eric Paschall's game rounding out when Villanova needs it most

Eric Paschall's game rounding out when Villanova needs it most

Those on the outside are now starting to see what those on the inside of Villanova basketball program have seen for the last year and a half.

Eric Paschall can play.

Paschall on Saturday had the biggest game of his career -- at least his Villanova career -- with 19 points, six rebounds and two steals in the Wildcats’ Big East-clinching win over Creighton at the Pavilion.

With Darryll Reynolds sidelined since early February with a rib injury, the Fordham transfer has been starting and playing at a high level. But he was at his best Saturday when his team needed him the most.

Paschall was essentially a guard at Fordham, but with Reynolds out and Omari Spellman forced to sit out the year, Paschall has been playing a lot of the 5 for Villanova, and against Creighton, he effectively neutralized 6-foot-11 Blue Jays center Justin Patton, who managed just four points -- 9½ below his average.

"He's getting better, that's the biggest thing," teammate Josh Hart said of Paschall. "He's down there battling with Patton, a 7-footer, he's down there battling with 6-10, 6-11 guys just about every night, and he's battling and battling and we just tell him, keep working like that. That's more important to us than him going out there scoring 20.

"We know he's talented enough to score 20, you saw that (Saturday), but the way he's battling and the way he's not being frustrated and just keeps getting better, for us that's the best part."

Paschall averaged 15.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game two years ago for the Rams, earning Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year honors.

He was one of only three NCAA Division I freshmen who averaged at least 15.9 points and 5½ rebounds per game. The others were D'Angelo Russell of Ohio State and Jahlil Okafor of Duke, who are both now double-digit scorers in the NBA.

But to play at Villanova, you have to play defense, and that's where Paschall has shown the most improvement.

"Eric is developing as a Villanova basketball player defensively in terms of executing far better than anyone knows," coach Jay Wright said. "We know. When he's in the game, we are executing at a high level. We're just starting to see what he can do offensively, but in our program, you've got to be able to (play defense) first and he's been doing that all year.

"(He's) getting better and better, and today you just saw a glimpse of what you'll probably see next year, but you've got to get the basics down first, which he's done an incredible job of this year. It's like I tell you with Dante (DiVincenzo), these guys play against him in practice, they're not surprised when they see him do that, but I know everybody else is because they don't get to see it all the time."

It's not easy to transfer into a new program and get used to new players, a new coach, a new system, a new philosophy.

"It was a process," Paschall said. "The biggest thing was getting used to what they wanted, and that's defense and rebounding. That took some getting used to, but once I understood what they were looking for from me and what they wanted me to do, that just made it easy.

"The guys welcomed me with open arms. It's a brotherhood here and we're all brothers and they made me feel like I was a part of it from Day 1. It can be hard sometimes as a transfer coming in, but they made it easy. It's just a matter of focusing on my job."

Overall, Paschall is averaging 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game and shooting 50 percent from the field in an average of 21 minutes a night. But during these last five starts, he's 21 for 32 from the field (66 percent) and is averaging 9.8 points per game.

"Eric, he came in knowing what coach wanted, knowing what coach’s philosophy is and how coach wants things, and he's come and in done what's expected," Jalen Brunson said.

'He's done a great job for us and we're extremely confident in him. It's hard coming in front a different school, coming in and learning a new system, learning the philosophy, but he's done a good job."

Paschall can play the 2 through the 5, so he gives Wright a lot of versatility.

His 19 points Saturday were his most as a Wildcat and his most in any game since he scored 21 for Fordham vs. George Mason on Feb. 18, 2015.

When asked about his role, he just pointed at Hart and Kris Jenkins.

"Just listen to these guys, making sure I have my head clear every game," he said. "They do a great job of telling me what to do during the games and having my attitude right during the games so I can just go out there play hard, play together, play smart, and that’s what I'm trying to do."

As thin as Villanova is -- Wright has played just six guys in his regular rotation since Reynolds got hurt -- Paschall has been a life-saver.

It's hard not to imagine how talented Villanova will be next year with Spellman, Paschall, Mikal Bridges, Phil Booth, Brunson and DiVincenzo.

But first, there's a game Saturday against Georgetown, the Big East Tournament in New York and then the NCAA Tournament.

"We see him getting better every day with his decision making," Hart said of Paschall. "Last year he definitely kicked our butt a lot when he was on the scout team.

"One thing we always had a question about was how was he going to fit in with just playing hard the way we play defense, and he's doing the best job, and he keeps getting better, and seeing him develop and seeing him grow has been amazing. Looking forward to seeing what he's going to do in the future."