The legal ramifications for Penn State stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal continues six months after the ex-defensive coordinator’s arrest, with another former assistant on Joe Paterno‘s coaching staff setting in motion a lawsuit against the university.
The Centre Daily Times reported Tuesday evening that Mike McQueary has begun the process of filing what’s described by the paper as a whistleblower lawsuit. The Daily Times wrote that “[t]he attorney for McQueary filed a writ of summons for a civil case in county court today”, which serves as notice to the university that they are being sued.
Because of its designation as a whistleblower lawsuit, the paper notes, McQueary will be seeking damages outside normal arbitration limits.
The specifics of the suit, including the amount of monetary damages McQueary will be seeking, are unclear at this time.
Early last year, McQueary testified in front of a grand jury investigating allegations made against Sandusky by multiple alleged victims who were underage at the time of the sexual assaults, claiming that he witnessed some type of incident involving a naked Sandusky and a naked 10-year-old boy in a Lasch football building shower on the PSU campus in 2002 (more on that date in a bit).
After speaking to his father from a phone in the football building immediately following the alleged assault, McQueary and his dad took the information to Paterno the following day, with then-athletic director Tim Curley, former vice president Gary Schultz — whose job also included serving as head of the campus police department — and former president Graham Spanier also informed of the alleged assault. How those PSU officials handled the allegations led directly to the firing of Paterno and Spanier, as well as charges against Curley and Schultz.
McQueary was placed on administrative leave shortly after the allegations came to light last November. The former wide receivers coach remains on the payroll at Penn State, the Patriot-News confirmed. It had previously been hinted that federal whistleblower laws prevented the university from cutting ties with McQueary.
In other news related to the Sandusky case, which is scheduled to go to trial June 5, and also involving McQueary, the Patriot-News reported this morning that a judge has changed the date of the alleged sexual assault in PSU’s football building that we mentioned above.
According to the paper, the “[c]riminal paperwork in the case against Sandusky no longer says that the alleged crime happened in March 2002. Instead, Judge John Cleland allowed prosecutors to say it happened Feb. 9, 2001.”
McQueary had previously stated he witnessed the incident prior to the start of spring break in 2002.
The attorneys for Curley and Schultz pounced on the change, saying in a statement that “[n]ow, it is clear that Mike McQueary was wrong in so adamantly insisting that the incident happened the Friday before Spring Break in 2002.” McQueary’s credibility in recalling and recounting the events of that night has already been called into question in the past.
The statement ended with the attorneys claiming one charge against their clients will be dropped on a technicality.
“Whether or not Mr. McQueary’s insistence was the result of faulty memory, or questionable credibility, there is no dispute that the statute of limitations has expired on (the failure to report charge), and it will be dismissed.”
Both men have been charged with failure to report and perjury, the latter stemming from their appearance in front of the grand jury.
An attorney not involved in the litigation told the Associated Press that the change in date should have no impact on the Sandusky case. Maybe.
“If all the other facts match up to be identical, I think it’s just an error without any harm for the prosecution,” Scranton defense lawyer Joseph D’Andrea told the AP. “However, if there are other inconsistencies, it gives the defense a reason to create some doubt about the credibility, sincerity, honesty and true recollection of what McQueary had to say.”
A gag order has been issued by the judge presiding over the Sandusky case, so neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys will comment on today’s developments.