Mike McQueary Begins Testimony in Curley/Schultz/Spanier Preliminary Hearing
Mike McQueary has been called to testify several times before – during Gary Schultz and Tim Curley’s preliminary hearing in December 2011 and Jerry Sandusky’s trial in June 2012. McQueary did not add much that hasn’t been said before during his testimony, other than some personal conversations with Joe Paterno, and seemed at ease while on the witness stand. He was well spoken and confident, making it clear he is not pointing fingers at any of the Penn State administrators and wishes he had done more to stop Jerry Sandusky from sexually abusing young boys.
During his testimony, McQueary detailed the February 2001 incident in which he saw Sandusky in the shower with a 10 or 12-year-old boy.
After witnessing what had happened, McQueary testified that he talked to his father and family friend Dr. Jonathan Dranov that night. The conversation lasted about 20 minutes, which included a discussion about calling the police, but the group ultimately decided against it.
McQueary testified that he was very reliant on his father and Dr. Dranov’s opinion.
“No one said ‘let’s call the police right now’ or I would have done it,” McQueary testified. McQueary later admitted it was a fault of his that he rarely questioned the authority of others.
“One of my personality traits is when an authority tells me something I go along with it,” McQueary said. “Did I ever follow up with Mr. Curley? No. And I’m at fault for that.”
The decision made by the three was to call head football coach Joe Paterno.
Calling what he had seen in the locker room at Lasch Football Building the night before “terrible,” McQueary testified that he told Paterno he had something he needed to bring to his attention. He arrived at the coach’s house at about 8 a.m. on Saturday.
“I told him I went to the locker room the night before, and I had seen coach Sandusky engaged in a very bad sexual act,” McQueary testified, adding he specifically called it a “molestation act with a minor.”
Paterno then told McQueary he had done the right thing in reporting the sexual act, and he would speak to a few people in the upcoming days.
Within about 10 days, McQueary met at the Bryce Jordan Center with Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley. The entire meeting lasted about 10 or 15 minutes, McQueary testified.
During the meeting, McQueary testified that he told Curley and Schultz he had seen Sandusky in the locker room “engaging in a sexual act” with a minor.
McQueary testified that he did not believe either administrator asked him any questions during the meeting. They told him they would follow up with him in the near future.
At no point did McQueary notify police of what he had seen in the locker room. He testified that he believed Schultz, in his role as overseer of university police, would let the right people know.
“I thought he had the power and would let the police know what I had seen,” McQueary said. “It may be my mistake.”
From time to time, McQueary testified he would have brief conversations with Paterno about the incident in the shower, perhaps once or twice per year. McQueary said Paterno would occasionally make remarks like, “God, (Sandusky) was a sick guy.”
McQueary testified he hoped he would not have to see Sandusky on campus anymore. To McQueary’s dismay he did, although he admitted he did not see Sandusky with children.
“I would say ‘why the heck is he allowed in here?’ “ McQueary testified, adding many of his co-workers became aware he had “seen something bad.”
For the next several years, rumors swirled around the football program and State College that Sandusky was under investigation. When police showed up at McQueary’s door in 2010 to interview him about Sandusky, he said he was not surprised.
McQueary said Joe Paterno helped him through the emotional turmoil after charges were filed against Sandusky.
“The University is going to come down hard on you,” McQueary says Paterno told him at their last practice before the coach was fired. “Don’t worry about me. They’re going to try to scapegoat you so get a lawyer. Don’t trust Cynthia Baldwin and don’t trust Old Main.”
“Coach Paterno – to be frank with you – was great throughout the whole thing,” McQueary said.
Ultimately, McQueary put responsibility on himself for not bringing Sandusky to justice sooner.
“I didn’t handle this thing in a perfect way,” McQueary said. “I would point the finger at myself before I point it at anyone else.”
After an hour of testimony, McQueary was allowed to leave. Up next was former director of university police Tom Harmon.
Questioning focused on the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, in which ultimately no charges were filed. Attorneys asked Harmon to read several old emails between the administrators and him.
Harmon testified that he contacted Schultz after receiving a call from a woman who had concerns about her son taking showers with Sandusky. The mother told Harmon that Sandusky hugged her young son from the rear but there was no indication the incident was sexual.
Not all calls to university police are relayed to Schultz but ones involving high profile figures such as Sandusky are reported to the vice president.
Harmon concluded that university police should hold off on making a crime log entry based on the report because there was “no clear evidence of a crime.” Schultz agreed with his reasoning and told him to continue to inform him of the investigation.
A representative of the department of public welfare decided the best course of action would be to have the boy meet with a child psychologist, Harmon testified.
The file was closed after a psychologist from the department of public welfare concluded there was nothing criminal about the incident.
Harmon testified that he was not told about there being another reported incident involving Sandusky and a young boy in 2001.
Had he been aware, Harmon said he has no doubt he would have contacted the district attorney’s office to pursue an investigation.
“In light of the 1998 incident, that would have been sufficiently suspicious that there had been a possible child abuse given the fact that Sandusky clearly knew this was problem behavior,” Harmon testified.
Harmon will continue to testify after the break.