Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, a key witness in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial in June, has filed a civil suit against the university. He is seeking at least $4 million for damages and lost future earnings.
In the suit, filed Tuesday at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., the damages in question are described as distress, anguish, humiliation and embarrassment.
McQueary was (and continues to be) something of a polarizing figure in what became the worst scandal in the history of college athletics. Outside of the victims, he was the only eyewitness to alleged sexual abuse who testified against Sandusky. A former PSU football coach himself, Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of sex abuse against boys and will be sentenced next Tuesday.
As a graduate assistant coach at Penn State in 2001, McQueary entered a locker room in the Lasch Football Building on campus only to discover Sandusky in the shower with a boy. Nobody — not even Sandusky — has disputed that.
However, McQueary testified that Sandusky and the boy were having sex, and that he reported the incident to his supervisor — head football coach Joe Paterno — the next day. He said he told athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz of the incident about 10 days later.
None of the school officials reported the incident to the police.
Paterno, who died of lung cancer in January, previously admitted to a grand jury that McQueary told him something of a sexual nature happened between Sandusky and the boy.
Curley and Schultz, who are both facing perjury charges for allegedly lying to the grand jury investigating the Sandusky case, claim McQueary never told them anything sexual happened between Sandusky and the boy.
McQueary became a full-time coach at Penn State in 2004. He never discussed the matter with law enforcement officials until investigators from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office approached him in November of 2010. He later testified before the grand jury.
When Sandusky was charged with dozens of counts of child sex abuse last November, the school's board of trustees moved quickly to fire Paterno and school president Graham Spanier. Curley and Schultz were both forced from their jobs, as well. The university sanctioned Freeh Report into the incident accused the four men of orchestrating a cover-up.
McQueary, meanwhile, was put on administrative leave, with pay. His contract with the university expired June 30 and was not renewed.
In the suit, McQueary contends that his employment was terminated in a discriminatory fashion
and that his employment was terminated by the Defendant because of his
cooperation with investigators for the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
McQueary also claims discriminatory treatment by Penn State has caused him much distress, anxiety and embarrassment. Further, he says he has been defamed by Curley and Schultz, as well as Spanier (who also denies being told McQueary had seen Sandusky engaging in anything sexual with a boy).
McQueary also argues that he has been branded as being part of a cover-up, which has caused irreparable harm to his ability to earn a living, especially in his chosen profession of coaching football.
The suit says McQueary was making $140,000 plus benefits during his final season as a coach at Penn State. He estimated his future earnings for the next 25 years to be at least $4 million.
McQueary also takes exception that Penn State has not paid any of the legal fees he has incurred, even though it is paying for the defense of Curley and Schultz. He also said the school did not begin paying him the severance package he was due -- which included 18 months of salary -- until more than two months after his contract was not renewed.