BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — The former Penn State assistant football coach suing Penn State told jurors Friday he was angered when told he could not return to team facilities after being put on leave the week Jerry Sandusky was charged with child molestation.
Mike McQueary testified in the fifth day of trial in his lawsuit, where he’s seeking more than $4 million in lost wages and other claims.
School officials have testified that safety concerns prompted them to put McQueary on paid administrative leave in November 2011, and he never returned to the football program.
“They tell me, the guy who turned in a pedophile,” to stay away from team facilities, he testified. “And they let him go around there for years after they knew about it not once but twice. That gets me. That does not make sense to me. It’s wrong.”
McQueary says he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in a team shower in 2001 and reported it to then-head coach Joe Paterno and two administrators. Another complaint was investigated in 1998 but produced no charges until authorities took a new look at the case starting in 2009.
His testimony helped convict Sandusky of 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012, but he has not been able to find a job.
McQueary told jurors he got a sense his status with the program was in trouble in the days after Sandusky was charged with molestation and two high-ranking school officials were charged with perjury and failing to properly report suspected child abuse.
The only university official who offered him words of encouragement during that period was Paterno, he said. He recounted an exchange they had on the practice field shortly before the school’s trustees fired Paterno.
He said the aging coach told McQueary he had not done anything wrong and warned him not to trust “Old Main” — the administration building.
“He specifically said, ‘Make sure you have a lawyer. You’re all right. You didn’t do anything wrong.’ He was very, the word I want to use is, unselfish, about all of it,” McQueary said.
He also recounted seeing Sandusky with the boy in the shower in 2001, slamming his locker door shut and seeing that they had separated.
McQueary did not say anything, physically intervene or call police, but he did contact Paterno the next day.
“I think one of the concerns perhaps in the very first minute is, Who’s going to believe me? Who is going to believe when I tell them that Jerry Sandusky was doing this?” McQueary testified. “I didn’t know if my dad would believe me. I didn’t know if anyone would believe me. And to his credit, Coach Paterno did believe me.”