Prosecutors in the Jerry Sandusky case are now saying the infamous incident when Mike McQueary walked in on Jerry Sandusky in a shower with a boy — the one that ultimately led to Joe Paterno’s firing and criminal charges against two university administrators — happened in 2001, not 2002.
That revelation, sure to please the defense in its quest to discredit McQueary at trial, was written in a motion filed Monday in Centre County Court.
The date change also has the defense attorneys for Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz saying that means the statute of limitations expired and their case should be dismissed.
In the Sandusky case, prosecutor Frank Fina wrote that the alleged incident happened Feb. 9, 2001 — not March 1, 2002, as the prosecution originally said. Fina asked the judge to amend the date in what’s called a bill of particulars, which lays out the dates and places where the alleged crimes took place.
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The motion didn’t give specifics about what led to the requested date change — it’s just the “result of specific and authenticated findings” as part of the ongoing investigation, Fina wrote. He also said state law allows for the change provided it doesn’t change the offense.
Sandusky’s attorney, Joe Amendola, is forbidden from speaking to the media now because of a gag order in the case.
He told the Centre Daily Times in January that Sandusky was insistent the shower incident McQueary walked in on was in 2001. He said Sandusky remembered it being close in time to his interviewing for the head coaching job at the University of Virginia in December 2000.
Amendola said the incident wasn’t sexual in nature — rather the boy was “surfing” around in the showers while the showers were running after a workout.
“Jerry is adamant that the time frame involved was really 2001, and probably, probably in February of 2001,” Amendola said Jan. 5.
“He says he can recall it vividly because it was one of the rare times he was in there at night. And most importantly, he said he had just interviewed for the Virginia head coaching job.”
Amendola previously said he’d met with a young man who said he was the one described as the boy in that shower incident. But Amendola said he never heard from the man again after he got an attorney.
At a preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz, the former university administrators charged with perjury for lying to the grand jury and failing to report abuse, McQueary testified about that shower incident. He said he went to the Lasch Building on a Friday around 9 or 9:30 p.m. in March 2002 and heard what he thought were sounds associated with sex coming from a locker room shower. McQueary said he looked into the shower once through a mirror and saw Sandusky with a boy.
When reached for comment, McQueary’s father, John McQueary, cited the gag order and said the family declined to comment.
That one allegation has rocked the Penn State community and generated the lion’s share of the fallout from the case.
On Nov. 9, Paterno was terminated as head coach for not following up on the report he got from McQueary and that he reported to his superior, Curley, the athletic director. Penn State students took to the streets of downtown State College, and dozens were arrested for rioting and other related charges.
The trustees, who made the decision, took heat from the alumni and fan community, spurring 85 candidates to challenge one incumbent for three seats on the board in this spring’s election.
Curley remains on administrative leave and Schultz retired as a senior vice president for finance and business. Both are awaiting trial in Dauphin County. They’re next scheduled for a status conference June 1.
Their attorneys, Caroline Roberto and Tom Farrell, issued a statement Monday about the date change, saying prosecutors filed the charges before they knew the facts.
“Now, it is clear that Mike McQueary was wrong in so adamantly insisting that the incident happened the Friday before spring break in 2002,” they said in the statement. “Whether or not Mr. McQueary’s insistence was the result of faulty memory, or questionable credibility, there is no dispute that the statute of limitations has expired on count two (failure to report abuse), and it will be dismissed.”
In a separate filing Monday, the prosecution outlined more discovery materials that were provided to the defense. But it was taken off the county’s website early Monday evening.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616.