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PSU: McQueary won’t coach Saturday due to threats
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STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary will miss Saturday’s game against Nebraska after the school said he received “multiple threats.”
McQueary testified in a grand jury investigation that eventually led to child sex-abuse charges being filed against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The ensuing scandal brought down longtime coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by university trustees Wednesday 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.
Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have each been charged with perjury and failing to report an incident of abuse in 2002 to authorities. Curley has taken administrative leave, while Schultz _ who was already working on an interim capacity _ has returned to retirement.
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.
Elsewhere, in forums online, and in comments on other websites, others called for McQueary to be fired, 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.
Asked if McQueary was protected by whistleblower status, trustee Boyd Wolff said Friday after a board meeting, “He’s a witness. He’s different from the others, so he has to be treated differently.”
As an emeritus trustee, Wolff is a non-voting member, though he said he took part in deliberations this week.
According to Williams, such whistleblower protections could include any kind of adverse employment action _ such as being fired, demoted, ostracized or punished _ although a court, ultimately, would determine whether the person is protected if they bring a claim.
The penalty on an employer can include monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and reinstatement of the employee, he said.
Trustees chairman Steve Garban declined comment Friday when asked if the board about the futures of Curley and McQueary. Rod Erickson, who has replaced Spanier, is expected to take questions about Curley and McQueary at a news conference later Friday.
“The university _ and you’ll have to ask the university _ still has still has some deliberations to make in that respect,” Gov. Tom Corbett, a member of the school’s Board of Trustees, said after a trustees meeting Thursday night. “I have to see that the university addresses this in the proper way.”
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