Law­suit against PSU in San­dusky case go­ing to trial

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

A law­suit by a for­mer Penn State coach whose tes­ti­mony helped con­vict fel­low as­sis­tant Jerry San­dusky of be­ing a sex­u­ally vi­o­lent preda­tor goes to trial Mon­day over al­le­ga­tions that the univer­sity de­famed him and wrongly re­fused to re­new his con­tract.

Mike McQueary, now 42, played quar­ter­back at Penn State be­fore be­com­ing a mem­ber of Joe Paterno’s coach­ing staff.

But he be­came best known as the as­sis­tant who went to Paterno in 2001 to re­port see­ing San­dusky, then a re­tiree with gym priv­i­leges, sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing a boy in the team shower. San­dusky was not ar­rested un­til a decade later, lead­ing to ac­cu­sa­tions of a high-level cover-up.

Nine women and three men were cho­sen for the jury last week. Both sides will make open­ing state­ments Mon­day.

McQueary was sus­pended with pay from the foot­ball pro­gram in 2011, when the first charges were brought in the case. Fol­low­ing San­dusky’s con­vic­tion in 2012 on charges of abus­ing 10 boys, McQueary learned he was ef­fec­tively be­ing ter­mi­nated from his $140,000-ayear job.

He claims in his whistle­blower law­suit that he was re­tal­i­ated against for help­ing pros­e­cu­tors, wrongly mis­led by high-rank­ing ad­min­is­tra­tors who first heard his story in 2001, and de­famed.

His own role in the scan­dal has also drawn scru­tiny be­cause he did not phys­i­cally in­ter­vene in the sex­ual as­sault of the boy, and be­cause he didn’t go to the po­lice.

McQueary went to Paterno’s home a day af­ter the shower in­ci­dent to dis­cuss what he had seen. Paterno alerted Tim Cur­ley, the ath­letic di­rec­tor at the time, and Gary Schultz, a vice pres­i­dent at the time, and McQueary met with both of them about a week later.

Paterno’s han­dling of the com­plaint was even­tu­ally cited by trustees as one of the rea­sons for his fir­ing in late 2011. Paterno died a few months later.

In his law­suit, which seeks more than $4 mil­lion, McQueary claims Cur­ley and Schultz wrongly led him to be­lieve that they con­sid­ered it a se­ri­ous mat­ter and that they would re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately.

As a re­sult, the law­suit claims, McQueary “has been la­beled and branded as be­ing part of a cover-up,” mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for him to find work as a foot­ball coach.

He also claims he was de­famed by a news re­lease is­sued by Gra­ham Spanier — Penn State pres­i­dent at the time — on the day San­dusky was charged, ex­press­ing full sup­port for Cur­ley and Schultz.

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