Mike McQueary told Penn State players in November 2011 that he was sexually abused when he was a child, ESPN The Magazine reported Tuesday.
The disclosure from McQueary reportedly came during a closed-door meeting on Nov. 7, 2011, just days after the Jerry Sandusky scandal erupted on campus. The ESPN report also cited four players who knew about the meeting.
McQueary was the focus of a lengthy profile published online Tuesday, and article explored the controversies and character of the former Penn State graduate assistant who in 2001 walked in on Sandusky showering with a boy in the Lasch Building.
More than a decade later, McQueary testified that he had thought Sandusky was abusing the boy because he had heard slapping sounds and because of the close proximity of their bodies. McQueary reported the incident to Joe Paterno, but did not make a formal report to police.
According to ESPN report, McQueary confided in the players about his being abused in the hope that they would understand how he reacted at the time. McQueary did not say who abused him or when it happened.
The report could not be independently confirmed, as McQueary’s lawyer, Tim Fleming, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
The article on McQueary was based on anonymous sources and the public record of the Sandusky case. It does offer developments that supplement the record, such as an email McQueary sent to investigators after the grand jury presentment was released and how investigators learned of McQueary.
McQueary only made a few comments to ESPN for the report and did not confirm or deny that he disclosed his own victimization. What he said was limited to Joe Paterno:
“I love that man more than you can ever possibly say,” McQueary told ESPN. “He’s an unbelievable man. He did unbelievable things. He handled this thing in the best way he could.
“Was it foolproof or perfect? No. But I didn’t handle this in a foolproof or perfect way either. I am loyal to him to this day. I absolutely love him.”
McQueary instantly became a central witness in the Sandusky case, as the grand jury presentment said he saw “anal intercourse.”
But McQueary wrote on Nov. 10 an email to an unidentified prosecutor and Sandusky investigator, apparently to clarify what he saw.
According to ESPN, he wrote: “I cannot say 1,000 percent sure that it was sodomy. I did not see insertion ... it was sexual and/or way over the line in my opinion, whatever it was.”
McQueary has been vehement on the witness stand in court proceedings, including during Sandusky’s trial, that he did not see intercourse. But, he’s said, he was sure that’s what was taking place because of factors such as Sandusky’s proximity to the boy’s body and the slapping sounds his thought were of a sexual nature.
The report also provides a contradiction in the presentment — that the grand jury thought McQueary was highly credible.
A man who served on the 30th grand jury told ESPN he was skeptical about McQueary’s testimony that something sexual was going on because he didn’t see penetration.
“This planted a seed with me,” grand juror Stan Bolton told ESPN, “ either you saw it or you didn’t.”
He told ESPN that the prosecutors “kind of glossed over it and moved on to who (McQueary) told, which started the whole Joe Paterno thing.”
The grand jury presentment was issued by the 33rd grand jury, a different group of people that didn’t hear McQueary’s testimony.
Anonymous sources told ESPN that they had heard about the shower incident from McQueary, and dozens heard it secondhand.
One former teammate and friend of McQueary said, “I knew about this a month or two after it happened. It certainly wasn’t a secret. We all heard this rumor.”
The rumor made its way to authorities in November 2010, after a man ESPN identified as Christopher Houser emailed Centre Country District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller an anonymous tip.
According to ESPN, Houser was talking on a Penn State football website with McQueary’s brother, John McQueary II, about whether Sandusky would coach at Penn State again. John McQueary said no because his brother had walked in on Sandusky in a shower with a boy in the early 2000s.
After getting the tip, Parks Miller forwarded it to state police trooper Scott Rossman, who had been investigating Sandusky.
The ESPN report also alleges that McQueary had a gambling problem and had bet on Penn State when he played for the team.
McQueary is suing Penn State for $4 million in lost wages. He claims the university didn’t renew his contract because he cooperated with authorities investigating Sandusky, and also claims that the university statement supporting ousted athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz implied he was being less than truthful.
If his case makes it to trial, he’ll likely have to testify again.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.