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Witness describes seeing Jerry Sandusky sexually assault boy

Mike McQueary testifies he saw former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in the locker room showers with a boy of 10 or 12.

June 13, 2012|By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
  • Mike McQueary arrives at court to testify in the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in Bellefonte, Pa.
Mike McQueary arrives at court to testify in the child sexual abuse trial… (Gene J. Puskar, Associated…)

The former Penn State University graduate assistant at the heart of the scandal that rocked the storied football program testified Tuesday in the child sexual abuse trial of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Mike McQueary described a 2001 incident in the school's locker room showers in which he said he saw Sandusky sexually assault a naked boy who was about 10 or 12. The boy, identified in court documents as Victim 2, was against a wall with a naked Sandusky behind him, McQueary testified in the Bellefonte, Pa., courtroom.

McQueary, 28 at the time, slammed his locker door loudly "in an attempt to say, 'Someone's here, break it up,' " he testified. Then he called his father, who is also expected to testify for the prosecution.

Photos: Who's who in Sandusky case

Earlier, two young men identified as Victim 4 and Victim 1 recounted what they said happened to them as children years ago. The defense has questioned their memory and their motives. Also Tuesday, a social worker testified that she had enough information to go to authorities about sex abuse allegations against Sandusky after meeting twice with Victim 1.

Sandusky, 68, was charged in November with 52 criminal counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He denies the charges. Some of the abuse is alleged to have occurred at Sandusky's home and some at the university, where the former coach took boys on field trips. He met all of the alleged victims through his charity for disadvantaged children, the Second Mile.

The scandal shook Penn State's nationally ranked athletic program and led to the dismissal of iconic head football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier. Paterno, 85, died in January of cancer.

Two other former college administrators face criminal charges, including perjury, over how they dealt with the reports of abuse. McQueary testified at their preliminary hearing, the only other time he has recounted the events publicly.

The biggest difference in his current recitation was that he said the incident took place in 2001; originally he said it was 2002.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Karl Rominger asked why McQueary had changed the dates.

"I recall a lot of things in my life that are very clear and vivid, and I don't know the dates, sir," he responded.

McQueary testified that he entered the locker room at Penn State's Lasch Football Building to put new sneakers in his locker and retrieve some recruiting tapes.

Then, he said, he heard a noise. "Very much skin-on-skin smacking sound. I immediately became alert and was kind of embarrassed that I was walking in on something."

McQueary said he looked in a mirror and saw Sandusky standing behind the boy whose "hands [were] up on the wall. The glance would have taken only one or two seconds."

He said he slammed the locker door and went up to his office.

"It was more than my brain could handle," he said. "I was making decisions on the fly. I picked up the phone and called my father to get advice from the person I trusted most in my life, because I just saw something ridiculous."

McQueary said he went to Paterno the next day and told him what had happened. "I told him and I want to make sure I'm clear. I made sure he knew it was sexual and wrong," he testified. "There was no doubt."

Photos: Who's who in Sandusky case

Eventually, top administrators were contacted. Sandusky was charged years later, after a different investigation initiated by one of the accusers.

The boy in the shower has never been identified.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

The Allentown Morning Call contributed to this report.

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