Prosecutors showed enough evidence during a two-day preliminary hearing to warrant a full criminal court trial for ex-President Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and ex-athletic director Tim Curley, Judge William Wenner concluded.
Wenner called it "a tragic day for Penn State University."
State prosecutors allege that the three men failed to tell police about sexual abuse allegations involving Sandusky and then tried to cover up what they knew about it.
The men say they are innocent and were not aware of the allegation against Sandusky in 2001. They say they had believed that Sandusky and the boy were engaged in nothing more than horseplay in a university locker room shower.
Sandusky was convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, but maintains his innocence and is appealing a 30- to 60-year state prison term.
A football team graduate assistant in 2001, Mike McQueary, has testified that he saw Sandusky and a boy engaged in a sex act in the locker room shower and within days reported it to coach Joe Paterno, Curley and Schultz. However, Curley and Schultz say McQueary never reported that the encounter was sexual in nature, and Spanier, in turn, has said Curley and Schultz never told him about any sort of sex abuse of a boy.
The three were charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy. Those charges include allegations of hiding evidence from investigators and lying to the grand jury.
Curley and Schultz were initially charged in November 2011, when Sandusky was arrested, and accused of perjury and failure to properly report the incident.
Spanier was forced out as president at that time. A year later, he was charged with covering up a complaint about Sandusky while additional charges were filed against Curley and Schultz. Spanier remains a faculty member on administrative leave.
Paterno was fired and died in January 2012.