Key witness in Penn State abuse scandal may testify Friday

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2011 7:28 PM
Key witness in Penn State abuse scandal may testify Friday

By Mark Shade

HARRISBURG, Pa (Reuters) - A key witness who said that he saw former assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in 2002 may testify in court on Friday, a legal source said.

Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant in the university's football program in 2002, is expected to testify at a court hearing on charges against former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and finance official Gary Schultz.

Curley and Schultz were charged last month with perjury before a grand jury for testimony they gave about their knowledge of the alleged abuse.

McQueary's story is important to the case against Sandusky and the two officials because he testified to a grand jury that he witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a boy in the showers of the football building, and reported it to then head coach Joe Paterno.

Paterno said he told his boss, Curley, but no one told police, and Sandusky's alleged behavior continued, according to a grand jury report.

The preliminary hearing on Friday is to determine if there is enough evidence for Curley and Schultz to go to trial.

McQueary has not been charged in the case but was put on administrative leave from the university, as was Curley. Schultz retired shortly after he was arraigned November 7 in suburban Harrisburg.

Paterno and Penn State President Graham Spanier were fired for not telling police what they knew.

Sandusky waived his preliminary hearing on Tuesday and will go straight to trial on 52 counts of alleged sex abuse of boys over a 15 year period.

"We anticipate Mike McQueary will be at the hearing," said Martine Charles, a spokesperson for the attorneys representing the university administrators.

Unlike Sandusky, Curley and Schultz are not expected to waive their preliminary hearing before District Judge William Wenner.

At issue is what McQueary actually saw in the football shower. In the grand jury report, McQueary, who was 28 at the time, is quoted as saying he had "heard rhythmic slapping sounds" in a team shower room. Since Curley's and Schultz's arrests, different versions of what McQueary witnessed have been reported.

(Editing by Greg McCune)