Skip to content

Whistleblower law keeping McQueary on the job?

File photo of Penn State head coach Paterno talking with assistant coach McQueary during Capital One Bowl NCAA football game in Orlando AP

A lot of the focus in the two days since Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier were fired has shifted to the question of why those two are out and yet Mike McQueary is still gainfully employed by Penn State.

McQueary, as you no doubt know by now, was a 28-year-old graduate assistant in 2002 when, according to the grand jury’s presentment in the Jerry Sandusky child rape case, he witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in a football building shower.  His actions in the moment and after the fact have led to a firestorm of criticism for the current wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator and many, many other school officials.

The reasons why he wasn’t shown the door along with Paterno and Spanier, however, may be legal in nature.

A partner at a Philadelphia law firm tells the Patriot-News that McQueary could be protected from being fired or forced to resign due to his status as a whistleblower.  Under Pennsylvania law, a whistleblower is defined as a “person who witnesses or has evidence of wrongdoing or waste while employed and who makes a good faith report of the wrongdoing or waste, verbally or in writing, to one of the person’s superiors, to an agent of the employer or to an appropriate authority.”

Per his grand jury testimony, McQueary took the allegation of wrongdoing involving Sandusky to his superiors — first Paterno, and then athletic director Tim Curley.  As “a public body” as defined in the state’s statute, and if McQueary is indeed a whistleblower in the legal sense, Penn State would be forbidden from doing the following:

(a) PERSONS NOT TO BE DISCHARGED — No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because the employee or a person acting on behalf of the employee makes a good faith report or is about to report, verbally or in writing, to the employer or appropriate authority an instance of wrongdoing or waste .

(b) DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED – No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because the employee is requested by an appropriate authority to participate in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by an appropriate authority or in a court action.

One of Penn State’s’s trustees hinted to the paper that the whistleblower law may indeed prevent the university, if it wanted to, from relieving McQueary of his coaching duties.

“He’s a witness. He’s different from the others, so he has to be treated differently,” emeritus trustee Boyd Wolff said.

While McQueary is still employed, he will not coach this Saturday’s game against Nebraska.  The school announced Thursday that, due to multiple threats made against the assistant, “McQueary will not be in attendance” at the game.

Permalink 38 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Big Ten Conference, Penn State Nittany Lions, Rumor Mill, Top Posts
38 Responses to “Whistleblower law keeping McQueary on the job?”
  1. bozosforall says: Nov 11, 2011 3:52 PM

    He may keep his job but good luck to him from actually being able to work without distraction. People will never let him forget what a coward he was on that fateful day when he decided not to save that little boy from being sodomized by the monster known as Jerry Sandusky.

  2. polegojim says: Nov 11, 2011 3:57 PM

    That’s exactly and precisely the case.

  3. barbeaux says: Nov 11, 2011 4:05 PM

    Wait, didn’t paterno tell his superiors?

  4. nineroutsider says: Nov 11, 2011 4:06 PM

    Not sure this guy qualifies as a “whistleblower”. A true whistleblower would have done much more. I’m sure he wasn’t blowing whistles in their coaches meetings, or when he passed him in the hallway, or when he walked by that shower.

    I know it is easy for me to say, but come on…we all know he should have done far more.

  5. jeffw says: Nov 11, 2011 4:06 PM

    I knew that this was why the dirtbag is still there. My guess is that he will never coach for PSU again, but he will sue the university, claiming that because of their actions and decisions, he is unable to perform his job. Unfortunately he’ll probably win.

  6. jeffw says: Nov 11, 2011 4:14 PM

    McQueery has been placed on “administative leave”. Goodbye. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass. You know, the same door you turned around and walked out of while a 10 year old boy was taking it up the @ss.
    Don’t fret though, Satan has an open position for someone like you.

  7. rendadoll says: Nov 11, 2011 4:16 PM

    http://www.kzep.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=119078&article=9381382 Texas has victims of Sandusky too, I wonder how many more states that this dude coached in or went to games in will find that they have victims of this degenerate man?

  8. clefan12 says: Nov 11, 2011 4:20 PM

    Fire him. If he sues you, so be it. The money lost in a potential lawsuit will be worth the PR damage that will be caused by having this guy still hanging around.

  9. couchpotato56 says: Nov 11, 2011 4:21 PM

    Kinda seems like what Joe did also. He’s not protected? Maybe that’s why he hired a lawyer!

  10. corvusrex96 says: Nov 11, 2011 4:24 PM

    So according to PA law even if Penn State makes the right decision and completley cleans house in the football program (from the head coach to the janitor) Mike friggin McQuery would still have a job??

    I say fire him, no matter what pressure comes from the DA, Gov Corbitt, who cares……whats one more lawsuit in grand scheme of things???

  11. ku62 says: Nov 11, 2011 4:24 PM

    He may keep his job but good luck to him from actually being able to work without distraction. People will never let him forget what a coward he was on that fateful day when he decided not to save that little boy from being sodomized by the monster known as Jerry Sandusky.

    The question may not be what he didn’t do, but what he did do. The threats may well be from people upset that he even reported and testified on the incident. Like the general population, the fan base of PSU includes some with pretty whacked-out ideas about loyalty.

  12. ErikW65 says: Nov 11, 2011 4:28 PM

    Whistleblower law being used as an excuse to keep McQueary on the job

    ftfy

  13. jdnola says: Nov 11, 2011 4:32 PM

    He should be fired and told explicitly: “You’re not being fired because you’re a whistleblower. We commend you for blowing the whistle. You’re being fired because you witnessed a child being raped, and you did not intervene to protect the child from further harm.”
    There’s a very clear difference, and no jury would side with McQueary, if he were foolish enough to sue Penn State.

  14. righthereisay says: Nov 11, 2011 4:37 PM

    He’ll resign and accept a payout to keep him quiet.

  15. bozosforall says: Nov 11, 2011 4:40 PM

    ku62 says:
    Nov 11, 2011 4:24 PM
    He may keep his job but good luck to him from actually being able to work without distraction. People will never let him forget what a coward he was on that fateful day when he decided not to save that little boy from being sodomized by the monster known as Jerry Sandusky.
    __
    The question may not be what he didn’t do, but what he did do. The threats may well be from people upset that he even reported and testified on the incident. Like the general population, the fan base of PSU includes some with pretty whacked-out ideas about loyalty.

    __
    Pretty sure that the KU faithful has an equal amount of whacked-out loyal fans too. Just to be certain that you aren’t just attacking the PSU fan base. Disclaimer: I’m not an alum of either institution.

  16. unclemoobaa1911 says: Nov 11, 2011 4:47 PM

    He was just put on administrative leave. As per the Centre Daily Times, http://www.centredaily.com

  17. blowtorch4jesus says: Nov 11, 2011 4:58 PM

    Since I can not even remotely comprehend how anyone but another pedophile would see a child being raped and not stop it if not kill the monster with their barehands as I’m sure most would at least think about, it’s open to speculation why he didn’t stop it, it’s also open to speculation as to how long he watched this rape, and why he reported it but went no further as he was at the very least morally obligated to when he saw nothing being done. Could it be that he actually is as sick a man as Sandusky and got off watching Sandusky rape this child?

  18. joshuakmann says: Nov 11, 2011 4:58 PM

    This is crazy. JoePa reported it to his higher-ups too and he lost his job, but this guy who saw this child being sodomized, walked away from it to go home and talk to his dad about it THEN reported it to JoePa gets to keep his job because he “blew the whistle?” To me, he had the largest crime, he saw a child being raped and did absolutely nothing. How can a human being walk away from that?

  19. theuglitruth says: Nov 11, 2011 4:59 PM

    McQueary is a witness to a crime where the victim has not come forward. Depending on the age of the victim and if it lands in the statue of limistation, the state needs him and he may have witness protection. If during his statement the investigators told him he may need to testify in the future…Boom.

  20. highoctane1 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:00 PM

    A new coach will be hired in the coming weeks or months. That coach will make his own staff, and McQueary will not be a part of it. It will be a clean break, and there will be no claim that the firing had anything to do with the scandal.

    Placing McQueary on admin leave for a few weeks is a small price to pay to prevent any type of retaliation lawsuit later. After this season ends, it is likely that none of the members of the current staff will be retained.

  21. texangirl says: Nov 11, 2011 5:06 PM

    Whistleblower? This guy is not a whistleblower.

    The one who brought this out in the open is victim #1 and thank God he did. He is a brave young man and I wish him and his mother all the best.

  22. highoctane1 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:06 PM

    The situation with JoePa and McQueary is different legally from a whistleblower perspective. JoePa was not blowing the whistle; he was one of the superiors that was being notified. The fact that he passed it on to another “superior” doesn’t place him into whistleblower status.

  23. fockers2009 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:08 PM

    I just wonder how he would rect if he were to be anally raped and somebody just watched it happen and then walk away? For God sake , he was 23 years old, 6’2″ 200 plus pounds and just left the 10 year old to accept the attack. It qasn’t until the next day that he told JoePa and now this makes him a whistleblower. I think not.

  24. fockers2009 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:09 PM

    excuse the typos

  25. fockers2009 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:13 PM

    I will not be surprised at all if Sanduscky offs himself before he spends a day in court. Pedophiles never want to go to prison because they know what will happen to them. He should be placed in jail now until trial with no bond. There is certainly enough evidence now to hold him while awaiting trial.

  26. theuglitruth says: Nov 11, 2011 5:14 PM

    Josh…JP was fired, not for any moral statement…likely it was a strategic move by the university to limit the liability and payout to the victims. If they felt like he would say something about how it was handled, it’s admissible in a court of law.

  27. jiminauburn says: Nov 11, 2011 5:22 PM

    Does not limit any liability by firing JoePa. Any claims for damages are going to be based on what was done when the rape was reported. Do you expect them to say, “oh, you are not responsible because you fired the coach 9 years later”?

    They should all be fired, and in jail. Reporting a rape to his superiors? If I see my boss raping someone, should I just report it to his boss? No need to report it to the police? The only reason you would report it to your superior and not to the police is becuase you are concerned about the image of the school and want to cover it up.

    This would be like the Catholic church claiming whistle blower status becuase some priest caught some other priest raping an alter boy. So he tells the head priest and forgets all about it. Then later on the higher ups transfer the priest and it never gets reported to the police.

    Everyone involved was part of a coverup. That itself should be a crime. They should all be charged with conspiracy and as accomplices after the fact.

  28. kristinnw says: Nov 11, 2011 5:23 PM

    There are a few factors that will be interesting to see how they pan out. 1) Did McQueary act “in good faith”? Or was there a reason/ulterior motive as to why he didn’t act but instead disclosed what he witnessed to Paterno? 2) McQueary started out as a witness, but did he become something more? Since all these people remained silent and did nothing to prevent child abuse (although knowing it was going on…and Sandusky was never discreet, it appears), is it possible — possible — that there was a conspiracy to cover up Sandusky’s crimes? Time will tell.

    And, if you read the whistleblower law word for word, it prohibits an employer from firing a whistleblower BECAUSE they blew the whistle. Just because you’re a whistleblower doesn’t mean you can’t be fired. You just can’t lose your job because you told on someone. Not necessarily the case here.

    http://keenlykristin.com/2011/11/11/joe-paterno-not-a-hero/

  29. spookietoo says: Nov 11, 2011 5:44 PM

    I can’t beleive no one commenting here is saying what must be said: PENN STATE MUST BE SANCTIONED BY THE NCAA AND FORBIDDEN FROM PARTICIPATING IN ANY COLLEGE LEVEL FOOTBALL FOR A PERIOD OF NO LESS THAN TEN YEARS!!!

    If anyone affiliated with Penn State even attempts to organize so much as a flag football game on Penn State property, each violation would add an additional year to the sanction.

    If Penn State attempts to fight the sanction in court it automatically turns into a twenty year punishment.

    College athletes, coaches , etc. have lived a spoiled-rotten, privilaged, above the law life for years. How many young women on how many campuses have been raped? Now Penn State has condoned CHILD RAPE. The punishment MUST FIT THE CRIME! No consideration of job loss or revenue loss as a result of the sanction would be credible – that would be the equivalent of saying Bernie Madoff should not have been prosecuted because his wife had grown accustomed to living in luxury!!!

    This is sick – any human that attends a Penn State game is a cockroach!!!!! Any decent parent would make it clear to their children attending that college that they MUST NEVER support that putrid program!!!!!!!

  30. theuglitruth says: Nov 11, 2011 5:46 PM

    Emotions aside…any statements JP would’ve made as a coach on the issue would be admissible.

  31. lxmas says: Nov 11, 2011 6:03 PM

    Ridiculous.

    “No employer may discharge…an employee …because the employee is requested by an appropriate authority to participate in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by an appropriate authority or in a court action.”

    That wouldn’t be why they’re firing him. They’d be firing him because he didn’t do enough.

    With all the lawsuits they’ll be facing, they’re worries about this one?

    Fire him and let the chips fall where they may. Do the right thing. ONCE.

  32. perkint says: Nov 11, 2011 6:11 PM

    This argument is turning the Whistleblower statute on its head. If Penn State fires McQueary (which they should do) it wouldn’t be for blowing his whistle, it would be because McQueary didn’t blow it hard enough. By turning his back on a young child being sodomized he was complicit in the continuation of that horrible act. If you are a tall muscular man weighing more than 200 lbs, you have a duty to intervene on behalf of a 60 lb child being victimized. He could have said stop and then whisked the kid away to safety. By not intervening, with nothing in his head other than an irrational fear of losing his job, McQueary has no better status than a perverted voyeur.

    BTW, great advice by McQueary’s dad. Kudos to you for telling your kid that you can cover your ass by passing the buck up the chain when everybody knows that child molestors are likely to reoffend if they’re not stopped.

    If Penn State keeps McQueary around because of an irrational fear of a lawsuit, they will do far more damage to their own institution. I for one wouldn’t let my son apply to a University that keeps a guy like McQueary on the payroll.

  33. theuglitruth says: Nov 11, 2011 6:18 PM

    lx,

    Well, considering a victim hasn’t come forward for the 2002 event yet, and the only witness is McQueary…the event doesn’t get uncovered without McQueary. As much as people don’t like it….he’s the only thing keeping that charge alive.

  34. melikefootball says: Nov 11, 2011 6:21 PM

    Just as the law states both McQueary and Paterno reported and then the the reports came to a hault. This freenzy by the media made swift actions to Paterno. This is exactly why many see things of wrong doing won’t report. No matter if legally they were correct they get persacuted for not doing more. This is a hanas crime done by another yet the main focus by the media has been these two individuals. I feel for the childrem and families that they are not seeing the one responsable for the chrime not hardly mentioned.

  35. eltex says: Nov 11, 2011 6:28 PM

    Man, this is tough. I don’t like that he saw the actions performed, and walked away. To me, that seems wrong. However, how many of us have actually witnessed something like this, and were able to document how we responded? Not many, I’m betting.

    We have no idea about his personal history. Maybe he was abused as a child, or has some emotional stuff that prevented him from acting. The guy he saw doing this was in such a command position, that it might have been too much to bear. Remember, in Happy Valley, there is ONLY Penn State, and Sandusky and JoePa were almost god-like in standing on that campus.

    I personally would not forgive him, but I am not in a position where I have to, and none of us are. Only a small handful of people might know why he responded the way he did. They are the only ones he needs to focus on. As for his job, he will disappear from the public eye, where it remains at Penn State or not is unknown. If he is let go, he will likely get a settlement. I have no problem with Penn State paying a few more dollars. Instead of focusing on this guys job status, let’s start working to help the victims in the case.

  36. deadeye says: Nov 11, 2011 6:58 PM

    “Wait, didn’t paterno tell his superiors?”

    ================================

    You can’t have it both ways:

    Either Paterno knew Sandusky was sodomizing children and allowed it to continue until the monster got caught…

    OR

    Paterno didn’t know it was sodomy (as he claims) and therefor didn’t pass the info regarding actual sodomy to his superiors, which would mean he wasn’t a whistle-blower.

  37. barbeaux says: Nov 11, 2011 8:49 PM

    “Wait, didn’t paterno tell his superiors?”

    ================================

    You can’t have it both ways:

    Either Paterno knew Sandusky was sodomizing children and allowed it to continue until the monster got caught…

    OR

    Paterno didn’t know it was sodomy (as he claims) and therefor didn’t pass the info regarding actual sodomy to his superiors, which would mean he wasn’t a whistle-blower.

    It’s pretty clear in the court document. McQreary saw it happening to one child. He did not stop it or call the police. He told Paterno the next day what he saw. Paterno, who did not see anything with this *one* claim, told his boss who is in charge of campus police. It’s not like someone told Paterno about each case. His telling his boss that was in charge of campus police seems like good enough effort to me. Was Paterno to go undercover and stalk Sandusky? Call the cop daily and ask? Maybe the guy that was in charge of campus police told Paterno that it was nothing and Paterno let it go. Should he doubt the police? That guy allegedly perjured himself about Sandusky so that’s a feasible scenario. The key to me is that Paterno told a boss that was in charge of campus police.

  38. barbeaux says: Nov 11, 2011 8:51 PM

    To your point though…McQreary knew…he saw it with his own eyes. Paterno heard a rumor. He did not see any acts with his own eyes. Sandusky is the worst monster in all of this. It’s sad that in the media he has gotten the least amount of scrutiny.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!