HARRISBURG - The state's highest court turned down appeals Friday by two of the three former Penn State administrators facing criminal charges alleging they covered up child abuse complaints against retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The state Supreme Court issued a pair of unsigned orders that denied petitions for review filed by former university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley.
The court orders say the justices were not preventing the two men from raising the same issue during their criminal prosecution.
Curley and Schultz filed the sealed appeals after the grand jury supervisory judge ruled in April that he did not have jurisdiction to consider their request to have charges thrown out. At issue was the role played in their prosecution by Penn State's then-general counsel, Cynthia Baldwin, who accompanied them to grand jury appearances.
Precisely what they argued is unclear, however, because all of the documents in the Supreme Court appeal were sealed.
Curley's lawyer, Caroline Roberto, described the court ruling as procedural, as opposed to a substantive issue, and said it will not have a negative impact on Curley's defense.
"To the contrary, we are actually pleased that the court has provided us the opportunity to vigorously litigate, in a full and open hearing, the extremely serious issue of attorney-client privilege and the role of former counsel Cynthia Baldwin in the grand jury investigation," Roberto said.
Curley and Schultz's co-defendant, former Penn State president Graham Spanier, has asked a county judge to throw out the charges against him, a matter that appears to be pending, according to the online docket.
A spokesman for the state attorney general's office and Schultz's lawyer Tom Farrell declined to comment, while Spanier's lawyer Elizabeth Ainslie offered no reaction to the decision.
Sandusky, the university's former longtime defensive football coach under head coach Joe Paterno, was convicted a year ago of dozens of counts of child sexual abuse. He's serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence. He denies guilt and is appealing.
Curley and Schultz were first arrested with Sandusky in November 2011, but more charges were added against them when Spanier was charged late last year. Preliminary hearings have not been held for the 2012 charges, and the high court's decision could clear the way for those proceedings to be scheduled.
The abuse scandal rocked Penn State, bringing down Paterno and the university's president and leading college sports' governing body, the NCAA, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university's football program.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, hired by university trustees to conduct an investigation into the university's handling of the Sandusky abuse complaints, concluded that Paterno, who died in January 2012, Spanier, Curley and Schultz concealed a 2001 allegation against Sandusky to protect Penn State from bad publicity.
The late coach's family, as well as Spanier, Curley and Schultz, dispute Freeh's assertions.