10 November 2011

High-Profile Professor: Duquesne Law adjunct represents Penn State scandal defendant

Photo courtesy The Associated Press
By Brandon Keller, Juris Executive Editor
By signing on as counsel for a defendant in arguably the most significant scandal in NCAA history, Tom Farrell certainly ensured full attendance Tuesday at his Criminal Process class at Duquesne University School of Law.

Farrell represents Gary Schultz, former Vice President for finance and business at Penn State University. Schultz, along with athletic director Tim Curley, were charged with perjury and failure to inform police about alleged acts of child molestation performed by former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky faces 40 charges related to his alleged sexual abuse of eight young men over a 15-year period.

Shultz’s perjury charge stems from statements he made to a state grand jury investigating Sandusky. Without getting into any particulars regarding his client, Farrell took the opportunity to teach his class about grand jury proceedings.

Of course, students could only take the generalities for so long. “I thought we weren’t supposed to talk to the media,” one student pointed out after Farrell offered to answer some questions about the case. Farrell laughed, and admitted that he broke his media-relations rule when he told reporters in Harrisburg that the charges against Schultz and Curley have no basis:

"You bring someone into a grand jury to investigate something that can't be prosecuted, something that isn't a crime, and then you take that person's inconsistencies or inaccuracies, or failure to remember what happened nine years ago, and you manufacture a charge out of it…That's what the Attorney General has done to these men."

It is difficult to measure the tremendous impact practitioners like Farrell have on a classroom, but the fact that half of his students stayed after class to pick his brain about grand jury proceedings says quite a lot.

Brandon Keller is an Executive Editor for JURIS. He is also the Vice Chair of the Public Interest Law Association and a law clerk for Edgar Snyder & Associates. Brandon earned his undergraduate degree at John Carroll University in 2009, where he majored in Political Science and Communication & Theatre Arts and will graduate from Duquesne University School of Law in June of 2012. He can be reached at brandon.r.keller@gmail.com.