WPSU-FM and WPSU-TV at Penn State University have been tangentially drawn into the ongoing child sex abuse case against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Last week, Pennsylvania court administrators who assigned Senior Judge John M. Cleland to handle the charges announced that Cleland had no known connections to the university — but his wife served for 15 years on the Penn State Public Broadcasting Board of Representatives, a volunteer panel advising the university on the operation of the stations, reports The Citizens’ Voice newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Julie Cleland was on the board from 1995 through 2009, including as chairman and vice-chairman. The newspaper said Judge Cleland was unaware of the wording of the Nov. 22 announcement and disclosed his wife’s involvement to state officials the next day. Thomas B. Darr, deputy court administrator for Pennsylvania, called Julie Cleland’s link to the school via the stations “minimal and distant.”
Penn State Public Broadcasting General Manager Ted Krichels agreed. “She’s not on the board anymore and doesn’t have any connection that I’m aware of with Penn State other than what she had through our board,” Krichels said. “There is nothing, I think, that warrants further investigation.”
Judge Cleland said he will alert prosecutors and Sandusky’s attorney of his wife’s Penn State connection “as his first order of business” Wednesday morning (Nov. 30) at a pre-trial conference, the paper said. If any attorneys object, Cleland told Darr he would consider removing himself from the case.