By Dave Warner
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, who was accused of covering up the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal and fired a year ago, will be paid more than $2.4 million in severance and compensation, the university said on Thursday.
Spanier, 64, who served as Penn State president for 16 years, has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment, perjury, criminal conspiracy and other charges for failing to report the former assistant football coach's assaults on boys.
Sacked along with legendary football coach Joe Paterno when Sandusky was arrested, Spanier was paid a salary of $700,000 for 2011, university spokesman David La Torre said in an email.
Spanier also will receive $1.2 million in severance and $1.24 million in deferred compensation accrued over his 16 years on the job, La Torre said. The severance and compensation will not be paid out before mid-2017, he said.
He declined to speculate on what might happen if Spanier were convicted.
Charged along with Spanier, who was freed on $125,000 bail, was Tim Curley, Penn State's athletic director who is on leave, and Gary Schultz, a retired vice president.
Earlier this year, an independent report by former FBI chief Louis Freeh concluded that Spanier, Curley, Schultz and Paterno, who died in January of lung cancer, were alerted to Sandusky's abuse, but did nothing to stop it or report it to authorities.
Thomas Kline, an attorney who represents one of Sandusky's victims, said he sees the payment to Spanier as Penn State protecting its former president.
"It is evident that today the focus of Penn State is on taking care of the very people who caused the tragedy, not those injured by their misconduct," Kline said.
Sandusky, 68, is serving what is essentially a life sentence - 30 to 60 years in a maximum-security prison for death row inmates - for molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period, some in the campus football showers.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Cynthia Johnston and Andre Grenon)