By Anne Danahy and Matt Carroll, McClatchy Newspapers –
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Mike McQueary didn’t back off his story Tuesday.
Before the eyes of a jury, he was adamant that when he walked into a Penn State athletics building shower he saw Jerry Sandusky naked with a young boy in a shower in a position that was “extremely sexual.”
The assistant football coach told jurors hearing the Sandusky child sex abuse case that when he walked into the football locker room in February 2001, he was met by “skin on skin slapping sounds.”
He defended his handling of the situation — going to his father first and later talking to Joe Paterno — rather than calling police and not following up later to find out what had been done.
A graduate assistant at the time, McQueary is now on leave from his job as an assistant coach. On May 8, he filed what’s called a writ of summons to preserve his right to file a suit against Penn State.
“I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong to lose that job,” he said during cross-examination from defense attorney Karl Rominger.
His testimony lasted about 2½ hours and for the most part was consistent with what he said in December at a preliminary hearing for two university administrators, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, facing criminal charges related to the case.
McQueary testified he was in bed the night of the alleged incident at about 8 or 9 p.m. and was watching the movie “Rudy.”
“After about an hour or so, I got fired up,” he testified. “I got motivated to go back to the office to do some work.”
He said he went to the Lasch Building, at first going to the locker room to put some sneakers away. While going in, he was met by “skin on skin slapping sounds.”
Once at his locker, he said he saw Sandusky and the boy, who appeared to be 10 to 12 years old, naked in the shower. McQueary testified that at first he saw Sandusky and the boy reflected in a mirror.
“I see in the mirror Coach Sandusky standing behind a boy who is propped up against the shower. The shower’s running. He is right up against his back with his front,” McQueary said.
McQueary said he was extremely flustered. He testified that he threw his sneakers into the locker and slammed it shut as a way to make his presence known, and then looked directly into the shower area.
He said the boy’s hands were against the wall. McQueary said he saw “very slow, slow subtle movement” from Sandusky’s midsection.
“You don’t expect to see anything like that ever,” he said.
McQueary said he called his father, John McQueary Sr. — the person he trusted the most — and then drove to his father’s house to speak with him. Once there, he testified, John McQueary asked his colleague Jonathan Dranov to come to the house. Dranov and McQueary’s father are likely witnesses in the Sandusky trial.
McQueary said he contacted Paterno the next day.
McQueary said he didn’t go into details when speaking with Paterno, but said he was clear about what he saw.
“I told (Paterno) what I had seen on the surface,” McQueary testified. “I made sure he knew it was sexual and that it was wrong … I did not go into gross detail about the actual act.”
When the prosecutor asked McQueary about Paterno’s responses, the defense objected, and Senior Judge John Cleland upheld the objection, not allowing McQueary to repeat what Paterno had said.
About a week after talking with Paterno, he said, he spoke with athletic director Curley and now-retired senior vice president Schultz — both of whom are facing perjury and failure to report abuse charges — about what happened. He said that conversation that lasted about 15 minutes.
McQueary said in his mind by telling Schultz he was telling police, because Schultz’s job included oversight of the police department.
McQueary defended the steps he took after seeing the boy and Sandusky in the shower. He said they were separated when he left.
He said he later avoided being around Sandusky.
“I made a strong attempt not to be associated with him after that,” McQueary said.
Rominger questioned whether McQueary had played in the Second Mile golf tournaments — affiliated with Sandusky — after the incident. While McQueary said he hasn’t played for several years, Rominger asked him about playing in 2004.
McQueary said he wanted to see proof of that.
Rominger questioned Sandusky about his handling of what he had seen, asking why he didn’t take further action — calling police, the attorney general or anyone else — when nothing happened to Sandusky.
McQueary said he told Schultz — whose job including oversight of university police.
He defended his handling of it — saying he made sure it had stopped and Sandusky and the boy were separated.
The boy has never been identified.
When asked about his certainty that it was sex, McQueary said, “I can’t tell you 1,000 percent. I did not see a penis entering a rectum. I do know it was extremely sexual.”
McQueary testified that he originally thought the alleged incident had taken place the first Friday before spring break in 2002. That is what he told the grand jury during its investigation. He had left open the possibility that it could have been 2001 — saying he was 90 percent sure it was 2002, but it could have happened in 2001.
He said he continued to provide investigators with information in the case, including the movie he was watching on TV, which helped them establish the 2001 date.
“Through the investigation, I’ve given investigators landmarks that helped them find the date,” he said. “I’ve settled on the date, and they’ve settled on the date.”