Penn State ex-of­fi­cial de­nies coach lost job over San­dusky

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Mark Scol­foro

BELLEFONTE, PA. >> Ju­rors in a defama­tion and whistle­blower law­suit were read tes­ti­mony Wed­nes­day by a for­mer Penn State ath­letic direc­tor who de­nied a claim by a main wit­ness against Jerry San­dusky that he was ter­mi­nated as an as­sis­tant foot­ball coach be­cause of his role in the child mo­lesta­tion case.

The de­po­si­tion by Dave Joyner, who was ath­letic direc­tor when Mike McQueary’s con­tract was not re­newed at the end June 2012, said that new coach Bill O’Brien brought in his own staff.

“My de­ci­sion not to re­tain Mr. McQueary only re­lates to the fact that there was no em­ploy­ment for him, and his term was run­ning out, and we did not re­new it,” Joyner said in the 2013 de­po­si­tion.

McQueary was put on paid ad­min­is­tra­tive leave in Novem­ber 2011, shortly af­ter San­dusky’s ar­rest and the fir­ing of long­time head coach Joe Paterno. The cam­pus was in an up­roar, and McQueary be­came the tar­get of crit­ics who ques­tioned why he had not phys­i­cally in­ter­vened or re­ported to po­lice when he saw San­dusky abus­ing a boy in a team shower a decade ear­lier.

McQueary ended up in fi­nan­cial straits when he was ter­mi­nated not long af­ter he tes­ti­fied against San­dusky, who was con­victed of 45 counts of child sex­ual abuse, in­clud­ing sev­eral counts re­lated to the in­ci­dent McQueary wit­nessed.

A few months later the school con­sented to pay him 18 months’ sev­er­ance un­der terms of a let­ter agree­ment that McQueary and other coaches had been is­sued a few years ear­lier, to in­su­late them from changes that were ex­pected when the ag­ing Paterno ended his ca­reer.

Joyner said McQueary’s case didn’t pre­cisely fit the terms of that agree­ment, but he de­cided to honor it be­cause he “thought it was the fair thing to do.”

McQueary has not been able to find work since, and he is seek­ing more than $4 mil­lion in lost wages and other claims.

Also Wed­nes­day, an in­ves­ti­ga­tor said a raft of threat­en­ing emails and calls about McQueary that came in to Penn State in the days af­ter San­dusky’s ar­rest were not enough to make him fear for the man’s safety.

An­thony Sas­sano said “there was dis­cus­sion, and no one ex­pressed any con­cern.”

The univer­sity is de­fend­ing its han­dling of McQueary, say­ing he was side­lined from the foot­ball pro­gram over safety con­cerns as the scan­dal broke and led to Paterno’s fir­ing, caused the ouster of the school’s pres­i­dent and trig­gered a riot-type dis­tur­bance near cam­pus.

Sas­sano said in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­cluded McQueary and the pub­lic were not at risk when Penn State played Ne­braska a week later. Ev­i­dence in the trial has in­cluded threats against McQueary and vague warn­ings that some­thing could hap­pen at Beaver Sta­dium if he showed up on game day.

“That’s what they have 200 cops for at the sta­dium,” Sas­sano said.

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