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Closing Arguments Heard at Trial of Graham Spanier

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HARRISBURG -- The defense called no witnesses and Graham Spanier did not take the stand in his own defense in his trial on charges of endangered the welfare of children during the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal at Penn State University.

The jury in the case began deliberations around 1:45 p.m. Thursday.

The former president of Penn State University was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children and one count of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Prosecutors said Spanier, along with former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley, was told about the abuse in 2001 but did not report it to police.

Curley and Schultz pleaded guilty earlier this month to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of children. Both Curley and Schultz testified against Spanier.

Spanier's defense team did not call any witnesses after the prosecution rested on Wednesday.

Spanier did not testify in his trial on child endangerment charges. Instead, the day started with closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense.

Defense attorney Sam Silver spoke first.

"This case involves a judgment call. They made judgment calls but did not engage in crimes or a conspiracy."

Silver said the defense did not need to call witnesses because the prosecution's witnesses made Spanier's case for him.

Prosecutor Laura Ditka countered by telling jurors that Graham Spanier was a leader who failed to lead. He had a background with children and therapy but says he still failed to see the child sex abuse connection to Jerry Sandusky.

She mentioned emails and meetings involving Spanier, Schultz, and Curley.

"They had a problem they didn't want to deal with so they were stalling."

Jerry Sandusky was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Sandusky is continuing his appeals and he's due back in Centre County court on Friday.