Curley, Schultz, Spanier Preliminary Hearing: Day 2
Testimony in the preliminary hearing for the three embattled former Penn State administrators charged with concealing child sexual abuse is scheduled to continue this morning at 9 a.m. at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg. If all goes according to schedule, proceedings should wrap up mid-afternoon as Judge William Wenner claims only three witnesses are left to testify.
Mike McQueary stole most of the headlines on the first day of the hearing. The former assistant coach and graduate assistant stuck to his story about witnessing Jerry Sandusky doing something sexual in the football locker room shower with a young boy in 2001 and reporting it to Joe Paterno the next day. What caught everyone’s attention was the new testimony bringing to light comments Paterno made to McQueary after the 2001 report — comments that at least question the theory that McQueary didn’t give Paterno enough information about what he saw to cause concern.
McQueary mentioned that Paterno would occasionally offer a comment about Sandusky or that fateful night in 2001, usually in passing. McQueary testified that these comments would occur “one or two times per year, at most,” but never in depth until the investigation began. In any case, if McQueary is being truthful, it’s clear that Paterno didn’t quite ever forget about that incident.
The conversation McQueary says he had with Paterno at the last practice before he was fired added some perspective to where the coach’s mind was at.
“The University is going to come down hard on you,” McQueary says Paterno told him. “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.”
But most of all, McQueary wanted to take responsibility for himself.
“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.”
Former Penn State police chief Tom Harmon testified about the 1998 investigation and the line of communication between administrators, mainly Schultz. Two of Schultz’s former administrative assistants testified about a confidential Jerry Sandusky file kept under lock and key in his office. While the office handled many confidential documents, one assistant says this file stood out from the rest.
She testified Schultz told her one day out of the blue “only you and I can access the file ‘Sandusky, Jerry’…don’t look at it.”
“I just remember thinking at the time ‘I wonder what Jerry has done,” Coble testified Monday. “But then I thought a few weeks later that it couldn’t be that serious because he continued to coach.”
It is not yet known who the remaining three witnesses will be, but most legal experts expect this case to proceed to trial. With a low burden of proof — prosecutors must only prove to the judge that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed — it is expected that the three administrators will face trial sometime in 2014.