Penn State’s Mike McQueary put on administrative leave

** FILE ** In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, left, talks with head coach Joe Paterno during an NCAA college football game against Iowa, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar, File)** FILE ** In this Oct. 8, 2011, file photo, Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, left, talks with head coach Joe Paterno during an NCAA college football game against Iowa, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar, File)
Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State placed assistant coach Mike McQueary on administrative leave, capping a tumultuous week in which his name surfaced as a key witness in a grand jury investigation into child sexual abuse allegations against a former coach.

School president Rod Erickson notified McQueary of the decision Friday, a day after the school said the receivers coach would not be present Saturday when the Nittany Lions play Nebraska because he has received threats.

McQueary testified in a grand jury investigation that eventually led to child sex-abuse charges being filed against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The ensuing scandal brought down longtime coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by university trustees amid growing criticism that he should have done more to stop the alleged abuse.

McQueary, who testified that he saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy in the shower in 2002, has endured similar scrutiny. The university’s athletic department released a one-line statement Thursday night saying it would be “in the best interest of all” if the receivers coach didn’t attend the season’s final home game at Beaver Stadium. The school did not provide details on precisely who threatened McQueary.

Asked if McQueary was placed on leave for his conduct or to ensure his safety, Erickson said it was “a complicated situation.

“What became clear is that, under any circumstances, he would not be able to function in a coaching role,” Erickson said in his first news conference as president. He replaced Graham Spanier who, like Paterno, was fired Wednesday night.

Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have each been charged with perjury and failing to report an incident of abuse to authorities after McQueary relayed what he had seen. Curley has taken administrative leave, while Schultz — who was already working on an interim capacity — has returned to retirement.

Paterno has not been implicated, and prosecutors have said he is not a target of the investigation. Curley and Schultz, through their attorneys, have denied wrongdoing.

The campus leaders faced mounting public criticism for failing to call police and prevent further suspected cases. So, too, has McQueary, who has not spoken publicly. His mother, Anne, said Thursday they have been advised not to comment.

Described in court papers as distraught about witnessing the 2002 attack, unrelated local newspaper accounts from the time indicate McQueary appeared in the months and years that followed in charity events that Sandusky also took part in, or were to benefit Sandusky’s group The Second Mile.

Asked if McQueary would be fired, Erickson said “there are complexities to that issue that I am not prepared to go into at this point.”

In forums online, and in comments on other websites, some have indeed called for McQueary to be ousted, but the assistant coach could be protected as a whistleblower.

Gerald J. Williams, a partner at a Philadelphia law firm, said Pennsylvania law is broad in protecting a person who reports wrongdoing, as long as that person is part of a governmental or quasi-governmental institution, such as Penn State.

“There are certain provisions out there for whistleblowers. (It) doesn’t matter if it’s frustrating or not,” Gov. Tom Corbett said Friday in State College, where he attended a Penn State trustees meeting.

“Assuming, and the grand jury doesn’t say it, but assuming that certain people are witnesses … they are witnesses, so you have to take that into consideration.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player