BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary told
jurors in Jerry Sandusky’s sex abuse trial Tuesday that he saw his ex-colleague
with a prepubescent boy in an on-campus shower and that he that he heard
“skin-on-skin smacking sound.”
His account of the night differed little from his appearance in December at a
preliminary hearing for Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz.
The one difference: He said the shower encounter took place in 2001 instead of
But the effect of what he saw, and heard, was unchanged, he said, responding to
questions from Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan.
Sandusky is on trial on 52 criminal counts related to the alleged assaults of
10 boys during a 15-year period. Authorities have charged that Sandusky abused boys at his
home and inside the football team’s on-campus facilities among other places.
McQueary told the jury that he was at home, in bed, watching the film Rudy,
when he decided to go to the football team building. He said he walked into the
support staff locker room to put away a pair of new sneakers and, as he opened
the door, he heard the noise.
“Very much skin-on-skin smacking sound,” he said. “I immediately became
alert and was kind of embarrassed that I was walking in on something.”
He said that he turned and glanced over his right shoulder at a mirror that had
a 45-dgree angle and saw Sandusky “standing behind a boy who was propped up
against a wall.” He estimated the boy to be 10 to 12 years old.
He said that the “boy’s hands (were) up on the wall. The glance would have
taken only one or two seconds. I immediately turned back to my locker to make
sure I saw what I saw.”
McQueary said he looked directly into the shower and saw Sandusky “standing
right up against the back of a young boy” with his arms around his midsection —
“the closest proximity that I think you can be in.”
When asked what he saw, McQueary said “the defendant’s midsection was moving” subtly.
McQueary said he tried to think and then put his shoes in his locker and
slammed it shut, hard.
“I made the loud noise in an attempt to say ‘Someone’s here! Break it up!’ ”
McQueary said, adding that he stepped closer to the opening of the shower room
and saw they were separated and facing him directly.
“We looked directly in each other’s eyes and at that time I left the locker
room,” and went upstairs to his office, he said.
“It was more than my brain could handle,” he said. “I was making decisions
on the fly. I picked up the phone and called my father to get advice from the
person I trusted most in my life, because I just saw something ridiculous.”
He said he was vague with his father on the phone, and that his dad, John,
told him to leave immediately and come to the house.
McQueary said he went to coach Joe Paterno’s house the next morning and relayed
what he had seen, but did not describe the act explicitly out of respect for the
coach and his own embarrassment.
He said that Curley called him a week after he talked to Paterno and he
attended a meeting with him and Schultz. They “just listened to what I had
said,” McQueary testified. About week or two later, he said Curley called him
to say they had looked into it.
McQueary’s testimony came after a teenager told jurors that a school district
guidance counselor initially didn’t believe his abuse claims because the former
Penn State assistant football coach was considered to have “a heart of gold.”
The teen, labeled Victim No. 1 by a grand jury, tearfully recounted for jurors
repeated instances of abuse, which he said included kissing, fondling and oral
sex during sleepovers at the coach’s home.
A social worker who spoke to Sandusky about the boy’s claims testified that the
coach denied having sexual contact with the boy but did acknowledge lying on top
of him and blowing “raspberries” on the boy’s stomach. The social worker,
Jessica Dershem, also said Sandusky told her he couldn’t recall whether he had
ever touched the boy below his waistline.
The charges against Sandusky — and two university officials accused of perjury
and failing to report suspected child abuse — touched off a massive scandal that
led to the firing of Paterno and the departure of the university president.
Paterno died in January of lung cancer, just over two months after his ouster.
Now 18, the accuser known as Victim 1 recounted an early encounter that
escalated to oral sex.
“I spaced,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with all the thoughts running
through my head, I just kind of blacked out and didn’t want it to happen. I
As he choked back tears, the sobbing teen recounted another time Sandusky
forced him to perform oral sex, after saying it was his turn.
“I don’t know how to explain it. I froze, like any other time,” he said. “My
mind is telling me to move but I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t move.”
The witness said he stayed quiet about the abuse, in part because his mother
thought Sandusky was a positive influence in his life, but he began trying to
distance himself from Sandusky.
At one point Sandusky became angry with him because they’d drifted apart and
the teen became involved with his local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization,
the teen said.
“I got extremely, extremely scared,” he said, recounting how it escalated
into an argument between Sandusky and his mother.
Eventually the teen asked his mother if there was a website used to track sex
offenders because he wanted to see if Sandusky was on it. That ultimately led to
a meeting with the guidance counselor, where he reported being abused.
At first, the counselor didn’t believe him and questioned the wisdom of going
to authorities, the witness said.
“They said we needed to think about it and he has a heart of gold and he
wouldn’t do something like that. So they didn’t believe me,” he said.
School officials referred the case to the county’s child-welfare agency.
Dershem, a Clinton County Children & Youth Services caseworker, said the teen
was initially uncomfortable talking to her but soon began to open up about his
encounters with Sandusky.
She told the jury she had enough evidence by the end of her second meeting with
the boy to determine that he had been abused by Sandusky.
He denied sexually assaulting the teen, saying he “he viewed (the boy) as an
extended family member, kind of like a son,” Dershem said.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Joe Amendola asked the teen whether
he had financial motives for bringing his accusations.
The teen denied that. “All I know is I’m here to tell the truth about what
happened to me, just like everybody else,” he said.
Sandusky didn’t visibly react to the teen’s account and looked straight ahead
during his testimony.
Another of Sandusky’s alleged victims testified Monday, the trial’s opening
day, telling jurors that the coach sent him “creepy love letters.” The man
said he began showering with Sandusky in 1997 and what started out as “soap
battles” quickly escalated to sexual abuse, including oral sex.
Lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan III has described Sandusky as a serial
predator who methodically used his youth charity, The Second Mile, to zero in
on fatherless children or those with unstable home lives, buy them gifts and
take advantage of them sexually.
Amendola has countered that the case is flimsy and that some of the accusers
apparently intend to sue and have a financial stake in the case.