McQueary Takes Stand in Sandusky Trial
Mike McQueary told jurors he was “extremely alarmed, extremely flustered, extremely shocked” seeing Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a child inside a Penn State locker room shower.
“You don’t expect to see anything like that ever,” said the assistant football coach as he testified about witnessing what he believed was Sandusky raping a young boy.
McQueary has long been considered one of the key witnesses in the Sandusky case. He is the only person to come forward saying he saw Sandusky abusing a child. Experts have said it is rare to have a third-party witness in a sex abuse case. Usually it is the story of victims up against the story of the accused.
McQueary said it all started after he was watching the popular football movie Rudy back in February 2001. He says on that Friday night the movie inspired him to go to the football building to get some work done. McQueary was a Penn State graduate assistant at the time.
The key witnesses went on to tell jurors he walked into the locker room at the football building and immediately heard “slapping sounds, skin on skin slapping sounds.” He says he was going to put a new pair of shoes in his locker when he saw in a mirror the reflection of Sandusky and a young boy in the showers.
McQueary testified he saw Sandusky directly behind the boy with his hands around the boy’s midsection. The boy’s hands were up against the wall. When he actually got that first visual, Sandusky’s midsection was making slow movements back and forth.
“I immediately turned back to my locker trying to digest what I just saw. I paced 2 or 3 feet to my right trying to get my own look with my own eyes,” said McQueary. “I thought maybe I wasn’t seeing what I thought I was seeing. Again I saw the same thing.”
That’s when he testified, “I was extremely alarmed, extremely flustered, extremely shocked, all of those things.”
The prosecutor asked him, “Is what you thought you saw, anal rape occurring?” and McQueary responded, “without a doubt.”
“I put my shoes in the locker. I slammed the door as loud as I could so they could hear it. I went to the opening of the shower and both were looking at me. They were separated. Both saw me. I saw the fronts of their bodies. Both looked me right in the eye,” he added.
“I wasn’t thinking 100 percent right. I’m used to pressure situations and I have to say maybe that was more than my brain could handle at that time,” said McQueary about his reaction to what he saw. He said he went upstairs to his office and called his father.
From there, McQueary went on to testify about how he reported what he saw to others. First to his dad and a close family friend. He said he provided enough details to convey that he saw something very serious, but he says he never went so far as to describe exactly what he saw.
His father recommended he tell his boss, football coach Joe Paterno about it. McQueary said the next morning, a Saturday, he called the legendary coach. He said that is when he first told Paterno he needed to see him.
McQueary told jurors that there were several full-time coaching jobs available at the time and that Paterno first said no when the grad assistant said he needed to come over to talk. McQueary said Paterno told him, “I’m not giving you the job!” That got a laugh in the courtroom. But McQueary said he then told Paterno it was important and the coach told him he should come to his house.
The judge allowed defense objections and would not allow McQueary to testify about what Paterno told him, but McQueary did detail what he told the head coach.
“I told him what I saw on the surface. I made sure he knew it was wrong and it was sexual. I did not go into gross detail about the act,” said McQueary. “I didn’t feel comfortable using those terms with my father or coach Paterno, out of respect and out of embarrassment honestly.”
McQueary went on to testify that he then told Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Shultz about what he witnessed. He said he told both of them what he saw. Again the judge allowed a defense objection and McQueary was not allowed to say what Curley and Shultz responded.
He did testify that about two weeks later he got a call from Curley saying the situation would be taken care of.
Mike McQueary has received a lot of criticism from the public after news broke about what he saw and how he reported it. Many have questioned why he didn’t go to the police itself.
Prosecutor Joe McGettigan asked him, “Did you go to police?” McQueary responded, “In my mind Mr. Shultz represented the police without a doubt.”
Gary Shultz was a vice president in charge of business affairs at Penn State and that position made him the head of Penn State’s University police department. McQueary testified that he considered Shultz as the “district attorney” of Penn State.
McQueary testified he went on to see Sandusky all the time on the Penn State campus after what he witnessed and what he says he reported. He said he tried to avoid Sandusky as much as he could. He said some in the football program became suspicious of that.
“On the surface, people saw my negative reactions. If Jerry came into the equipment room I would get up and leave real fast. People got suspicious of my reaction to him. I would respond that I didn’t like being around him.”
He said he didn’t share many more details until police came to him involved in this investigation and wanted to question him
On cross-examination, the defense attorney wasted no time bringing up a discrepancy about McQueary’s original report to police. Prosecutors had a file a motion before the trial altering McQueary’s testimony to say that what he saw was in 2001. McQueary’s original police report and testimony to the grand jury said it was in 2002.
“I recall a lot of things in my life that are very clear and vivid and I don’t know the dates, sir,” McQueary responded to the grilling about the date discrepancy.
McQueary was also asked many questions about what he witnessed that night in the showers, trying to point out some discrepancies with previous testimony on the incident.
“I did not see an erection, I did not see an actual penis inserted into anything,” said McQueary upon questioning by the defense. But he did say after what he saw, Sandusky’s genitals had to be right up against the boy’s rear end.
The defense also brought up that McQueary has filed a “writ of summons” to Penn State notifying the university that it could be sued for eliminating his job after the Sandusky arrest and all the news attention McQueary got afterward.
“I was a football coach at Penn State University. They fired that position and I want to get what I believe is owed to me. To be honest I want to be a coach at Penn State University and at the current time I can’t do that,” said McQueary. “I don’t think I have done anything wrong to lose that job.”