BELLEFONTE, Pa. Two more key prosecution witnesses took the stand in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial here Tuesday, and they battered the former Penn State assistant football coach with testimony from both ends of the emotional scale.
Mike McQueary, who as a Penn State graduate assistant in 2001 alleged he saw Sandusky molesting a boy in a support staff shower in the Lasch Football Building on campus, was aggressive and even angry in his testimony. At one point, when defense counsel noted McQueary had given different age ranges for the boy in question during different interviews, he snapped back, If we want to argue (age), the fact is (Sandusky) had sex with a minor boy.
Meanwhile, an 18-year-old alleged victim had to choke back tears through much of his testimony, saying of his alleged sexual encounters with Sandusky in the mid-2000s, I was extremely confused by what was going on.
Sandusky, 68, is facing 52 charges of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year period. The trial in the small town began Monday and has already featured two days of dramatic testimony.
McQueary, who was placed on administrative leave from his job as an assistant coach with the Penn State football team when the Sandusky scandal broke last November, repeated much of the same testimony he gave in a December preliminary hearing for former Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. That duo is facing perjury charges in connection with the scandal.
McQueary says that in 2001 he went to the support staff locker room to stow a new pair of sneakers. Upon entering the room, he says he heard skin-on-skin slapping sounds. He said he could eventually see through a mirror that Sandusky was in the shower with a boy, and both were naked. He moved to get a direct view and said he saw Sandusky standing behind the boy, pressed to his back, moving slowly. The slapping sound had stopped.
Though he said he did not see either person's genitals, McQueary said in his view, It was sexual, it was wrong, it was perverse.
He said he slammed a locker and the sound caused Sandusky and the boy to stop what they were doing. Upon seeing they were 3-5 feet apart from one another, McQueary said he left.
The former Penn State quarterback said, I'm used to pressure situations, and that was more than my brain could handle.
Since the story became public last November, McQueary has been the target of criticism for not physically stopping what he saw.
McQueary has testified multiple times and did so again Tuesday that he immediately called his father for advice. It was decided he would report the incident to his superior then-Penn State football coach Joe Paterno which McQueary did the next day.
When the prosecution asked McQueary what Paterno told him, defense attorney Karl Rominger objected, saying it was hearsay. Judge John Cleland sustained.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January. But if the defense was hoping to keep the Hall of Fame coach's comments to McQueary out of the record and in doing so bolstering its contention that McQueary was not clear on the alleged sexual nature of what he saw when reporting it to his superiors an error during cross examination hurt the tactic.
Centre County Courthouse.
Rominger asked McQueary how long the meeting about Sandusky with Paterno lasted. McQueary said that, like all meetings with Paterno, it was short, but then slipped in, According to (Paterno) on (his) testimony, he definitely knew it was sexual.
McQueary was referring to testimony Paterno gave to the grand jury investigating the Sandusky case in early 2011, where the coach said he was told Sandusky did something of a sexual nature to a boy.
Rominger asked for McQueary's comment to be stricken.
Cleland responded, You opened the door and he just walked through it, and overruled the request.
The defense spent most of the cross examination grilling McQueary on inconsistencies in his testimony during the investigation and related proceedings. The biggest one was the date of the alleged assault. Initially, the police report said it happened in March of 2002. The state has since changed that to February of 2001.
McQueary argued that he was never definitive on a date or even a year in his testimony, saying, I recall a lot of things in life that are clear and vivid and I don't recall the dates.
The defense also pressed McQueary on the writ of summons he filed against Penn State, which preserved his right to sue the university based on the loss of his job as a coach. Rominger contended McQueary stood to gain financially depending on the outcome of the Sandusky trial, but he was not clear on how.
Jerry Sandusky arrives at court Monday.
McQueary said there was a 180-day deadline to file the writ, and he did so on the final day to keep alive his option of suing. Though he is still on administrative leave from the school, he believes the university has certain unfulfilled obligations to him under his coaching contract.
Frankly, I want to be a football coach at Penn State, he said, adding that he knows it will not happen. I don't think I've done anything wrong to lose that job.
The 6-foot-4, red-haired McQueary stared straight at the defense table upon entering the court, only shifting his gaze to be sworn in. He spoke loudly and looked questioners straight in the eye.
When Rominger asked him if Sandusky and the boy saw him in the locker room back in 2001, McQueary said, I'm pretty sure they saw me. I don't know how they didn't. I get seen a lot of places.
The gallery laughed. McQueary has been the focus of intense media and public scrutiny for months and was poking fun at that.
Rominger picked up on the light moment and said McQueary is a large man. McQueary joked back, I'm going to say the term 'tall man,' but yes sir.
Victim 1's testimony
McQueary's confident demeanor stood in stark contrast to the other key witness on this day.
Identified as Victim 1 in the state's case against Sandusky, he was allegedly abused when he was between the ages of 11 and 15. Sandusky was banned from his high school in 2009, sparking a police investigation that ultimately led to the broader inquiry by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.
Victim 1 graduated from high school last Thursday. His testimony was gut-wrenching at times, and there were long pauses and plenty of tears while he explained the alleged sexual acts between himself and Sandusky.
The witness said he stayed at Sandusky's Lemont, Pa., house hundreds of times during the period in question, usually sleeping in a basement room with a waterbed. He said all of the most serious sexual acts occurred there. He said he spaced the first time Sandusky performed an overt sexual act on him.
It just happened, I don't even know
, the witness said, pausing to wipe away tears before looking down to gather himself. I didn't know what to say. I was embarrassed and confused and didn't know what to do.
The packed courtroom was otherwise silent.
The witness also broke down during an intense cross examination from Joe Amendola. The lead defense attorney repeatedly asked the witness about inconsistencies in his testimony to police, a grand jury and now the trial jury. Most involved the number and nature of the alleged sexual encounters. After numerous questions on the topic, the witness began to weep.
It is hard enough for me to tell the people of the jury this, let alone a room this big, he said. You are asking the same questions.
When Amendola said the questions were not the same, the witness went silent for a moment. Trembling, the witness mouthed the word stop under his breath. The judge asked if the witness needed a break. The witness said no, and the testimony continued.
Dressed in a blue jacket and gray pants, Sandusky watched intently as the witness delivered his testimony. He showed no emotion during the session.
The witness earlier said he was trying to end the relationship with Sandusky quietly in 2008, but that Sandusky continued to pursue him. That included showing up at the witness' school and pulling the witness out of classes to meet with him. The witness said Sandusky even followed his bus home on one occasion.
The witness said his mother became suspicious of the relationship at that point and set up a meeting with the school guidance counselor. The counselor, in turn, sent the witness to Clinton County Children & Youth Services.
Two others take the stand
The witness admitted to holding back information when talking to CYS. Later Tuesday morning, CYS case worker Jessica Dershem took the stand and said after her initial meeting with the witness, we felt (he) had more to say. Following a second meeting, she said there was enough to indicate possible sexual abuse.
She said in a subsequent meeting with Sandusky in early 2009, he denied any sexual contact with the boy but admitted to blowing raspberries on his stomach, rubbing his back beneath his clothing, and lying face to face with him. She said Sandusky could not recall if his hand ever slipped below the witness' waist while he was rubbing his back.
The CYS investigation led to state police being informed and later to the grand jury investigation.
Dershem said she was involved in one interview with the witness while police were on hand. Amendola asked if it was videotaped. She said all but the part where the police were questioning the witness was recorded.
She admitted police told her, They don't like doing taped interviews because they help the defense lawyers.
There was a bit of a twist to the proceedings Tuesday, as youth wrestling coach Joe Miller's testimony was delayed. He was excused to be with his 11-year-old daughter during a medical procedure. Miller took the stand late in the day, after McQueary.
Miller says he walked in on Sandusky and Victim 1 wrestling in a weight room at Keystone Central Junior High several years ago.
Earlier Tuesday, the alleged victim testified that Sandusky had pulled him off a rock wall in the weight room in the school, and laid him down on a mat. They were on their side, face to face, when Miller walked in.
Miller said it was after 8 p.m. He had left the school but returned to pick up a forgotten item, when he saw a light on in the weight room. He was initially stunned to see Sandusky and the boy in the room. He said Sandusky propped himself up and said they were working on wrestling moves.
Miller never reported what he saw, chalking it up to Sandusky's reputation for helping children through The Second Mile charity.
It's Jerry Sandusky, he's a saint, Miller recalled thinking.
I didn't think anything of it.