Report: Mike McQueary told several Penn State players that he was a victim of sexual abuse

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
Mike McQueary
Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary walks outside after paying respect to former Penn State Football coach Joe Paterno during a public viewing at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the campus of Penn State. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

According to a new piece written by Don Van Natta Jr. for ESPN The Magazine, former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, told “a dozen Nittany Lions players” that he was sexually abused as a boy.

McQueary, a key witness in the upcoming trials against the three school officials accused of covering up Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse crimes, told the players that “he could relate to the helplessness of the young boy” he had seen in the shower with Sandusky because he was also abused as a boy.

McQueary, who was a long-time wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator under Joe Paterno, confided in the players in a position meeting on November 9, 2011, three days after it was revealed in a presentment that McQueary had seen Sandusky and a young boy in a shower at the football building on February 9, 2001.

That tidbit is part of a larger profile on McQueary. McQueary declined to speak with ESPN for the story, so further details about his alleged abuse remain unknown. McQueary told players of the abuse while he faced sharp criticism after the presentment was released for not stopping Sandusky.

“It made it even more personal for him,” one of the players said.

McQueary will likely be called to testify at the criminal trial of former PSU president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz. All three have pleaded not guilty and say they did not hear from McQueary in 2001 after the incident in the shower.

In June 2012, Sandusky, a long-time defensive coordinator at Penn State, was found guilty of 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse. The three counts in which Sandusky was found not guilty includes the alleged rape of “Victim 2,” who McQueary said he saw in the shower with Sandusky. According to the report, Victim 2 later identified himself to Sandusky’s attorney, Joseph Amendola, and said that “nothing occurred that night in the shower.”

Amendola hoped that "Victim 2" would help with Sandusky's defense, but Amendola "ran into a local lawyer at the Centre County Courthouse who told him the young man who had identified himself as Victim 2 had in fact been a victim of Sandusky." Victim 2 has since "struck a multimillion dollar settlement" with Penn State, the report says. 

At the trial of Spanier, Curley and Schultz, McQueary, for the fifth time, will testify under oath his account of what he witnessed in the shower in 2001. McQueary will be pressed by defense lawyers about the consistency of his testimony and will, “if allowed by the presiding judge,” raise “questions about his character.”

The original presentment (made public on November 4, 2011) said that McQueary stated he saw Sandusky engaged in “anal intercourse” with a 10-year-old boy in the shower. In later testimony, McQueary said that he never clearly saw “anal intercourse,” but he assumed it “based on several quick glances and the sounds he’d heard.”

Writes Van Natta:

“What McQueary saw and reported in 2001 to Paterno and Penn State’s leaders compared to his five statements, delivered in varying terms under oath from 2010 to 2013, will be critical parts of the criminal trial of Spanier, Curley and Schultz.”

Other undisclosed information obtained by ESPN includes a juror doubting McQueary’s credibility and an email McQueary sent to authorities where he thought “the prosecutors’ description in the presentment of what he had seen – and what he reported to Paterno – was not accurate.”

Van Natta writes that one of the lawyers will “likely attempt to focus on McQueary and gambling.” Van Natta spoke to several of McQueary’s former teammates and people close to him who said that McQueary, a former Penn State quarterback, gambled often while at PSU and continued after he graduated in December 1997.

“One close college friend says he recalls that McQueary, as a junior and backup quarterback, bet on Penn State to cover an eight-point spread against Michigan State at Beaver Stadium in November 1996. The Nittany Lions won on a late field goal, 32-29, and McQueary, who was on the bench, lost his wager, the source said. When McQueary’s gambling debts totaled thousands of dollars, his father paid them, several of McQueary’s former teammates said.”

McQueary has filed a $4 million whistleblower lawsuit against Penn State for “expected lost wages after his contract wasn’t renewed in the summer of 2012.” McQueary’s complaint says he suffered “irreparable harm to his ability to earn a living.” He is currently unemployed and living at his parents’ house in State College.

Though he opted not to offer comment to Van Natta for the story, McQueary had one thing to say about his mentor and former coach, Joe Paterno.

“I love that man more than you can ever possibly say,” McQueary said. “He’s an unbelievable man. He did unbelievable things. He handled this thing in the best way he could. Was it foolproof or perfect? No. But I didn’t handle this in a foolproof or perfect way either. I am loyal to him to this day. I absolutely love him.”

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