HARRISBURG — A Penn State assistant football coach testified Friday that he walked in on former coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in a university shower in 2002, and made that clear when he reported it to head football coach Joe Paterno and two Penn State administrators.
Mike Mc- Queary’s testimony came at the beginning of a prel iminar y hearing on charges of perjury and failure to report abuse filed against former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and retired Senior Vice President Gary Schultz. When it was over, District Judge Bill Wenner bound the charges over for trial.
Schultz and Curley told an investigating grand jury that, after talking with McQueary, they did not realize the seriousness or sexual nature of what he saw.
McQueary rebutted that several times during his two hours of testimony.
“There’s no question in my mind that I conveyed to them that I saw Jerry (Sandusky) with a boy in the showers and that it was severe sexual acts going on and that it was wrong” and over the line, McQueary said.
Sandusky is charged with sexually assaulting 10 boys over a 15- year period. He maintains he is innocent of the charges.
Friday’s hearing was the first time the public has heard McQueary talk about the incident in 2002. It also included the reading of Paterno’s Jan. 12 testimony to the grand jury, in which he again said that he understood, from McQueary’s account, that he had witnessed something sexual in nature.
In the testimony read in court Friday, Paterno said McQueary, then a graduate assistant, came to his home on a Saturday. He said he remembered being told Sandusky was “fondling” a boy, but Paterno wasn’t sure how to characterize it during his testimony.
Paterno said he knew Mc- Queary was upset and something inappropriate had happened. He said he didn’t push McQueary for details. McQueary testified he didn’t use graphic language to describe what he’d seen out of respect for the coach.
“I would never have done that with him ever,” McQueary said.
McQueary said Paterno told him he had done the right thing. Paterno said he called Curley, his boss, the following day tell him of McQueary’s report. He said he did not make any further reports because he thought Curley would handle the situation appropriately.
McQueary answered questions from a prosecutor and Schultz’s and Curley’s attorneys for almost two hours. He remained calm and stuck by his testimony and said that while he may not have used certain graphic terms to describe what he witnessed, he had been clear.
He said he walked into a shower area in Penn State’s Lasch Building about 9:30 p.m. on the Friday evening before spring break 2002 to hear the rhythmic sound of skin slapping on skin, and saw Sandusky naked in the shower with a boy who appeared 10 to 12 years old. Sandusky was behind the boy, his arms wrapped around the boy’s waist; the boy had his hands flat against the shower.
McQueary said he saw them three times, once in a mirror and twice directly. The two of them moved apart and he left. It all transpired within 45 seconds, he said. He did not call police.
Instead he called his father, John McQueary, and went to his parents’ home where he told his father and a family friend, Dr. Jonathan Dranov, what he had seen.
The next day he told Paterno. Mike McQueary said that Curley called him 9 or 10 days later, and he met with Curley and Schultz.
Mike McQueary said that he considered that reporting to Schultz, who oversaw several departments, including the university police, was the same as reporting to police.
“It was delicate in nature, in my opinion sir, and I tried to use my best judgment,” McQueary said.
John McQueary also testified Friday, saying he followed up on what his son told him during a meeting with Schultz at his office at Centre Medical and Surgical Associates. Dranov was there, too, he said.
John McQueary said he told Schultz that his son saw something “sexual in nature” and that he thought Schultz left the meeting with the understanding that his son had seen something sexual occur.
“In that regard I felt we had notified the appropriate person that could take what I would have deemed to be appropriate action,” John McQueary said.
John McQueary said he’s not sure Schultz ever reported back to him.
“It appeared, on the surface, the system didn’t do much about it,” John McQueary said.
Friday’s hearing also included the reading of Schultz and Curley’s testimony to an investigating grand jury in January.
In Schultz’s testimony, he said he thought “Jerry grabbed the genitals of the young boy,” but said he thought Sandusky was just “horsing around,” as he had known him to do. He said it was inappropriate, but he didn’t think a crime had occurred.
He also said he thought the incident had been reported to a child protective services. He had said it wasn’t his job to try to learn the identity of the boy. That’s something prosecutors said no one at the university tried to do.
Schultz also said he’d been informed of an investigation in 1998 into whether Sandusky behaved inappropriately with another boy in a shower. The investigation by Penn State police ended when then-District Attorney Ray Gricar decided not to press criminal charges.
When asked by prosecutors, Schultz said it hadn’t occurred to him to take another look into that investigation after the 2002 report from Mike McQueary. He said he was surprised to hear that that investigation had resulted in a 95-page report.
Schultz testified that Spanier was aware of the 1998 investigation, but Schultz said he didn’t remember details of their conversation.
Curley told the grand jury that McQueary hadn’t told him there was anything sexual in what he saw in the shower. He said he was unaware of the 1998 investigation.
He did call Sandusky’s alleged behavior in the shower “inappropriate” but said he didn’t think it was necessary to call police.
“I didn’t see any reason, because I didn’t think, at that time, it was a crime,” he said.
Instead, he reported it to Jack Raykovitz, who at that time was CEO of The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded for at-risk youth. It was through The Second Mile that prosecutors said Sandusky met the boys he’s accused of abusing.
Curley said he confronted Sandusky, who at first said he didn’t think he was in the shower on the date in question. He later admitted he was there.
Curley told Sandusky that he wasn’t allowed to bring any more children to campus facilities.
Thomas Harmon, who headed the Penn State Police Department from 1990 until his retirement in 2005, testified that Schultz never reported the March 2002 incident to police, although he said he spoke with Schultz every week or two.
Despite arguments by Curley’s attorney, Caroline Roberto, and Schultz’s attorney, Tom Farrell, that the charges were baseless, the judge quickly ruled after testimony ended around 3 p.m. to hold the case over for trial.
In a press conference that followed the hearing, Curley’s and Schultz’s attorneys said they think they will successfully fight the charges. Roberto said that, legally, nothing happened that wasn’t expected and that the burden of proof required of the state in the preliminary hearing was extremely low.
She said they think the state will “never be able to reach their burden of proof at a trial.”
Farrell noted again that McQueary had not called police following the 2002 incident. He said Schultz was never told of the allegations of rape of a boy and if he had been “he wouldn’t have covered it up. He would have told the police.”
“Gary told the truth. Gary shouldn’t be charged. Gary’s going to be acquitted,” he said.
Wes Oliver, an associate law professor at Widener University who attended the hearing, said he wasn’t surprised the case is going to trial because prosecutors only had to show that a reasonable person could believe a lie took place.
What surprised him, he said was John McQueary’s testimony — that he told Schultz that Sandusky’s behavior was “something sexual in nature,” but that he never used the word “crime” to describe it.
“That’s almost identical to what Curley and Schultz described to the grand jury,” Oliver said.
What Curley and Schultz told the grand jury was based on their understanding of what Mike McQueary witnessed, and even if it wasn’t entirely accurate, Oliver said that doesn’t constitute perjury.
“I think there’s a very low chance of conviction on perjury here,” Oliver said.
E. Marc Costanzo, senior deputy attorney general, fielded a question after the hearing about how Mike McQueary handled the situation in 2002, and whether he should have done more.
He said he personally doesn’t think Mike McQueary should be blamed for the failure of other adults to take action.
“If you want to criticize him ... I’m not going to dispute it,” Costanzo said. “I think it’s a sad, sad, sad day when you think about all the victims, and you just got your first taste of it today and you saw the inaction by a number of supposedly important responsible adults. And there was a lot of inaction in this case.”
Curtis Tate of McClatchy Newspapers contributed to this report.