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Penn State defendants plead not guilty to perjury

By Mark Shade

HARRISBURG, Pa (Reuters) - Two Penn State University officials waived a chance to face a judge on Thursday and instead entered pleas of not guilty on paper to charges they lied to a grand jury about a child sex abuse scandal involving former coach Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and university finance official Gary Schultz, who was also head of campus security when the scandal broke last fall, had been set to appear in Dauphin County Court for arraignment on charges of perjury and failing to report abuse allegations to police.

Instead, they opted to waive the arraignment and filed pleas of not guilty through court documents.

State prosecutors contend Curley and Schultz lied to a grand jury investigating accusations that Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, molested 10 boys over a 15-year period.

Sandusky, 67, has pleaded not guilty to the 52 counts leveled against him and remains under house arrest.

Sandusky's arrest on November 5 prompted the Penn State Board of Trustees days later to fire both longtime head coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier.

Penn State alumni have grown vocal about their opposition to how the board handled Paterno's sudden dismissal, which was carried out by phone. In three meetings with current university President Rodney Erickson, alumni criticized what they called a lack of due process for Paterno, who had been employed by the school for 61 years.

The Board of Trustees on Friday holds its first public meeting since Paterno was fired.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Daniel Trotta)