Report: Penn St. whistleblower McQueary told players he was abused

Former Penn St. assistant Mike McQueary, whose testimony was central in the sexual abuse case against Jerry Sandusky, is about to testify again in the trial of three former Penn State leaders accused of orchestrating a cover-up of Sandusky’s crimes.

But as McQueary prepares to give his eyewitness account again of a 2001 incident where he says he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in a campus shower, a report in ESPN the Magazine says McQueary told several Penn State players privately that he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child himself.

From the report:

Although he hasn’t confirmed it outside the locker-room meeting, McQueary told players he was a victim of abuse at a time when his decision to leave the locker room without stopping Sandusky was being criticized in State College and beyond, including by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

"It made it even more personal for him," one of the players said.

The magazine didn’t get McQueary to comment on his own alleged abuse. A fact that has raised an issue concerning whether an ethical line was crossed.

“If ESPN is reporting this without his permission, it is terribly concerning,” Kristen Houser, the Vice President of Public Relations for the Pennsylvania Coalition against Rape told The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre by phone Tuesday. “Mike McQueary’s role in this case has been so sensationalized. Thousands of people are trying to play detective, prosecutor, judge and jury. I’m fearful this is a really damaging breach of confidentiality. It certainly didn’t add anything to the story except a sensationalistic line.”

McQueary’s only comment in the feature is dedicated to his feelings for Joe Paterno, the legendary coach who lost his job amid the scandal and died shortly afterward.

"I love that man more than you can ever possibly say. He’s an unbelievable man. He did unbelievable things. He handled this thing in the best way he could. Was it foolproof or perfect? No. But I didn’t handle this in a foolproof or perfect way either. I am loyal to him to this day. I absolutely love him," McQueary is quoted as saying in the article.

Later this year, former Penn State leaders Graham Spanier (president), Tim Curley (AD) and Gary Schultz (vice president) go to trial facing charges including conspiracy and failure to report suspected abuse. McQueary, who has a $4 million whistleblower lawsuit pending against the school since losing his job, is expected to be a key witness.

They have maintained that McQueary never told them about the alleged incident in the shower in 2001 and have pleaded not guilty.

According to the ESPN report, the defense plans to focus on his previous testimony and potential inconsistency in his statements. It also says the defense will likely try to question his character, citing sources that say McQueary developed a gambling problem — even betting on Penn State games — while in college.

Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts against him. One of the three he was found not guilty of was the shower incident McQueary recounted.

According to ESPN, one juror doubted McQueary’s testimony:

In another previously undisclosed matter, The Mag found that one grand juror who heard McQueary testify said he doubted his credibility. The grand juror, Stan Bolton, a 53-year-old employee of The Home Depot in York, Pa., now says he was skeptical of McQueary’s claim that Sandusky engaged in a sex act with the boy because McQueary told grand jurors that he didn’t see penetration.

"This planted a seed with me. Either you saw it or you didn’t," said Bolton, who was one of 23 grand jurors. The prosecutors "kind of glossed over it and moved on to who [McQueary] told, which started the whole Joe Paterno thing."