HARRISBURG — An assistant Penn State football coach testified this morning that he told former Coach Joe Paterno and two university administrators that he saw Jerry Sandusky engage in a sexual act with a young boy on the Penn State campus in 2002.
Mike McQueary was the first witness called in a preliminary hearing of two Penn State administrators charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to report suspected abuse.
McQueary testified for almost two hours about a 2002 incident in which he says he believes he saw Jerry Sandusky having sexual intercourse with a young boy. McQueary insisted that, while he didn’t use terms such as “sodomy” and “anal intercourse” when he reported what he'd seen to Coach Joe Paterno, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired senior vice president Gary Schultz, he said he was clear that what he saw was sexual in nature.
“There's no question in my mind that I conveyed to them that I saw Jerry with a boy in the showers and that it was severe sexual acts going on,” McQueary said on the witness stand.
However, Curley and Schultz, in testimony before an investigating grand jury, both said they did not realize that what McQueary witnessed involved a sexual act or possible crime. They did not report the incident to police or to child protective services, or try to determine who the boy in the shower was, according to their grand jury testimony.
McQueary's testimony was followed by testimony from Thomas Harmon, former director of Penn State police, who talked about a 1998 investigation into Sandusky's behavior with another boy in a shower. Harmon said he never received any report about what McQueary said he witnessed in 2002.
McQueary's father, John, then took the stand to testify about what he was told by his son about the 2002 shower incident, and and what he told Gary Schultz in a meeting that followed that incident.
Court reporter Shannon Manderbach then testified that she had recorded grand jury testimony from Curley, Schultz and Coach Joe Paterno. That testimony was entered into evidence. She was quickly followed by John Sassano, an agent with the state Attorney General's office, who testified briefly that his investigation showed no report was ever filed with law enforcement about what McQueary said he witnessed in 2002.
In the afternoon, testimony that Curley, Schultz and Paterno gave to the investigating grand jury was read into the record.
In the end, District Judge William Wenner ruled that the prosecution had shown there was sufficient evidence to send the charges of perjury and failure to report abuse against Curley and Schultz to Dauphin County Court for trial. Perjury is a misdemeanor, failure to report is a summary offense.
Sandusky is charged with more than 50 counts involving sexual abuse of 10 boys over 15 years.
Curley, 57, was placed on leave by the university after his arrest in November. Schultz, 62, returned to retirement after spending about four decades at the school, most recently as senior vice president for business and finance, and treasurer. Both maintain their innocence.
At today’s preliminary hearing, credibility of the witnesses is not at issue, and Curley and McQueary were not expected to mount a defense.
On the witness stand, McQueary testifying that on that day in 2002, he went into a locker room and heard rhythmic slapping sounds, like skin on skin. It sounded like someone was in the shower and there was some activity going on, he said.
He was surprised to Sandusky in the shower with a boy, who McQueary guessed was 10 or 12. He first saw them in a mirror, he said, and Sandusky was behind the boy.
When he looked into the shower, he said Sandusky was directly behind in a very, very close position with his hands wrapped around his waist. He couldn’t see Sandusky's hands.
He said he believed Sandusky was having intercourse with the child.
“I know they saw me,” he testified. “They looked directly in my eye. Both of them.”
He said the two separated.
He said he was shocked and horrified, and left.
“I was distraught,” he said.
He told his father, and the next morning he said he sat at Coach Joe Paterno’s kitchen table and told him that he saw Sandusky with a boy in the shower and that what he saw was “extremely sexual in nature” and “way over the line.”
Paterno, he testified, was “shocked and saddened,” and “slumped back in his chair.”
Paterno, he said, told him he did the right thing, and Paterno said he needed to tell some people about the report and that he would get back to McQueary.
Nine or 10 days later, McQueary said Curley called him. He arranged to meet with Curley and Schultz in the Bryce Jordan Center. McQueary testified that he told Curley and Schultz that he saw something “extremely sexual” and “over the line.”
He said he described to Curley and Schultz what he’d seen — the position of Sandusky with his arms wrapped around the boy, the slapping sounds, the fact that both were naked. He said he did not use the terms “sodomy” or “anal intercourse.”
He said Curley and Schultz indicated they thought the situation was serious and would look into it. He was asked why he didn't call police, and said he thought that he was doing so in reporting to Schultz, who oversaw university police, among other departments.
“I thought I was talking to the head of the police, to be frank with you,” he said. “In my mind it was like speaking to a (district attorney). It was someone who police reported to and would know what to do with it.”
No one else ever came to talk to him about the shower incident until 2010, he said.
Four or five days after his conversation with Curley and Schultz, he said Curley called him and said they’d looked into the situation. Curley said told him they’d contacted The Second Mile and told them Sandusky wasn’t allowed to bring children onto campus.
“I accepted what he had told me,” McQueary said. “I said OK.”
He said he never saw a child with Sandusky after that, although he did continue to see Sandusky around the football facilities.
“I personally found it troubling and not right,” he said.
Under cross-examination, he later testified that he and his father had called Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a colleague of his father’s, who came over the night before McQueary went to see Paterno. However, the defense was not allowed to ask details of what McQueary told Dranov after the prosecution objected.
Harmon, when he was called to testify, said he'd received a complaint from a boy's mother in 1998 that Sandusky had showered with her son and hugged him. Harmon said there was no accusation that anything overtly sexual had happened.
Harmon said he notified Schultz and then-District Attorney Ray Gricar of the report, and kept Schultz updated on the investigation. He said he eventually informed Schultz that Gricar had reviewed the investigation and determined he would not pursue it as a criminal offense.
Harmon said Schultz did not report the 2002 incident witnessed by McQueary to university police, even though Harmon said he was in contact with Schultz about once every week or two.
Under cross-examination, Harmon said Schultz never instructed Harmon to give Sandusky special treatment during the 1998 investigation, but let the investigation run its course.
Harmon said he didn't discuss the 1998 investigation with Curley.
John McQueary, Mike McQueary's father, took the witness stand after Harmon, and testified that he told Schultz what his son had seen in the Lasch Building shower room. He said he told him Mike McQueary had seen Sandusky in the shower with a young boy and saw something "sexual in nature."
After breaking for about 90 minutes, the court reconvened shortly before 2 p.m., and testimony Paterno gave the grand jury was entered into the record. In that testimony, Paterno said he understood that McQueary had witnessed something sexual in nature that took place between Sandusky and a young boy.
Paterno said he talked by phone with Curley and explained the situation. He said he didn't make any further report because he was confident Curley would take care of it.
Curley's and Schultz's testimony before the grand jury was also entered into the record. At the time Curley testified, he was represented by Cynthia Baldwin, Penn State's general counsel.
Curley said he understood that McQueary had heard and saw two people in the shower area, and saw activity in a mirror that made him uncomfortable. He said he and Schultz reported the information to Spanier and The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded for at-risk youth, and spoke with Sandusky.
Curley said Sandusky did not at first admit being in the shower, but then conceded he was. However, Curley said "I didn't think it was a crime at the time." He said he was not aware of the 1998 investigation.
He said he told Sandusky he didn't want him bringing children into the football facilities again, and said he also informed The Second Mile of that.
Curley said he thought Sandusky's behavior was "inappropriate" but wasn't aware of any sexual activity.
Schultz, who was also represented by Baldwin when he testified, said he understood that something inappropriate had happened in the shower, and thought it had something to do with Sandusky and a boy wrestling in the shower and Sandusky grabbing the boy's genitals.
He indicated in his testimony that he was aware of the 1998 investigation. He also indicated Paterno was aware of the 1998 investigation, but he didn't remember the specifics of his conversation with Paterno about it.
Schultz also indicated he thought the 2002 incident had been reported to child protection services.
After the grand jury testimony was read, the attorneys for Curley and Schultz offered closing arguments.
"Perjury has to be more than a he-said, she-said, or in this case a he-said, he-said," said Curley's attorney, Caroline Roberto. She, like Schultz's attorney, argued that there was no basis for the perjury charges and asked the judge to throw them out.
Farrell said perjury is a knowing misstatement of facts, and that not what happened here.
But Prosecutor Bruce Beemer argued that's a matter for a jury to decide.
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