Mike McQueary’s whistleblower suit has been given a date for court.
In an order signed Thursday and filed in the Centre County prothonotary’s office on Monday, Chester County Senior Judge Thomas Gavin overruled arguments from a stay of the case from Penn State and directed the court administrator to set a date.
Jury selection is set for Oct. 10, two days short of four years from when McQueary filed his lawsuit. The case will start trial on Oct. 17.
McQueary gained attention amid the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case. McQueary told the infamous story of seeing Sandusky in a locker room shower with a young boy. He testified before both the grand jury and the Centre County jury that convicted Sandusky of 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse. Sandusky was acquitted of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse regarding that victim, but was found guilty of four other counts.
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McQueary says he faced consequences at Penn State for his part in the case, and his suit charges the university with not just the whistleblower count, but defamation and misrepresentation.
Penn State argued that the case should not be scheduled for trial because potential witnesses Gary Schultz and Tim Curley could be unavailable. Curley and Schultz, as well as former Penn State president Graham Spanier, are still awaiting trial in Dauphin County for charges related to their grand jury testimony regarding Sandusky. Spanier has said he would testify, but Curley and Schultz have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights.
Gavin didn’t care, saying that the testimony of the pair related only to the misrepresentation count, and that the case cannot languish until the criminal charges, which have not even been scheduled for trial, have run their course.
“I am advised that a senior judge has recently been assigned to oversee the criminal cases. Assuming that they can be fast tracked, they are years away from resolution unless there is a not guilty verdict. Were either man to be convicted of any offense, the appeals process would be lengthy and they would continue to be unavailable,” Gavin wrote.
He also noted that potential witnesses are not always called to testify, and “if that were to occur, years would have passed for no reason.”
McQueary last stood on the sidelines with the Nittany Lions in his capacity as a receivers coach on Oct. 29, 2011, the same time Joe Paterno last coached the team. The team had a bye the next week. Penn State then announced he would not be present due to concerns for his safety. He was then placed on administrative leave. His job was terminated July 5, 2012, 13 days after Sandusky’s conviction.
He has not coached football since.
“I have been informally advised that plantiff, despite his best efforts, has been unsuccessful at obtaining a coaching position at any level,” Gavin wrote. “I question whether this is a reflection on his coaching skills or due to the notoriety surrounding him resulting from his involvement in the Sandusky case. In either event, he has no job.”
McQueary has “expended the resources” available to him, including pension funds, Gavin noted, leading him to suffer “ongoing economic harm.”
“The time has come to resolve this case,” Gavin wrote.