Mike McQueary files defamation lawsuit against Penn State

October 3, 2012

Mike McQueary, shown attending a memorial service for Joe Paterno, has filed a lawsuit against Penn State. (Patrick Smith / AP)

Mike McQueary, the former Penn State graduate assistant who testified that he witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually attacking a young boy in a shower on campus in 2001, has filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging that he is being treated as a scapegoat and not a whistleblower.

He filed the $4 million lawsuit, based on what he estimates he would have earned as a football coach over the next 25 years, Tuesday in Centre County, Pa., near State College. McQueary says he has suffered distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment because of what the lawsuit says is defamation and misrepresentation by the school. The suit states that, as a recruiting coordinator in later years, McQueary was banished from the sidelines, did not receive a bowl bonus, was denied use of a car that was specified in his contract, was not allowed to interview for a position on the staff of incoming Coach Bill O’Brien, and got delayed severance pay.

McQueary testified that he had told the late coach Joe Paterno in 2001 what he had witnessed as well as Gary Schultz, the school’s former vice-president, and Tim Curley, the former athletic director. Both men are facing charges of perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse to authorities. McQueary claims that they misrepresented themselves to him, since he believed they would act on his allegations of what he saw. Both men maintain their innocence. Shortly after Sandusky was charged, Graham Spanier, then president of the university, expressed his support for Curley and Schultz to athletic department staff, a move McQueary said was intended to make him the scapegoat.

McQueary’s lawsuit claims that he “has been labeled and branded as being part of a cover-up, which has caused irreparable harm to his ability to earn a living, especially in his chosen profession as a football coach.”

A spokesman for Penn State declined to comment on the suit to PennLive and the Associated Press. McQueary’s lawyer could not be reached by PennLive or the AP. McQueary, a former quarterback at Penn State, was a key witness in the June trial of Sandusky, who was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse and will be sentenced Tuesday. McQueary was placed on administrative leave Nov. 11 and learned that his contract would not be renewed in July. He said his salary last year was $140,000. He has been vilified for not doing more, but, as Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel writes, he does appear to have done more than anyone else involved in the scandal at Penn State.

No, Mike McQueary didn’t do enough to stop Jerry Sandusky. No, he didn’t scream loud enough about what he saw. What he did though was more than any other person at Penn State did for a long time. While McQueary ranks extremely low on the list of victims of the Sandusky case, he was affected.

He’s out of work. He’s out of money. He’s out of his career. He’s out of Penn State’s support system even as the school pays for the defense of Curley and Schultz.

He alleges, in his whistleblower suit, that Spanier’s publicly and privately stated “unconditional support” for Curley and Schultz essentially branded McQueary a liar and ruined him. It claims his employer picked sides and killed his career and reputation. All he’s ever done, he said, was tell the truth. And now he’s paying for it.

“You’ve been sued in court,” the filing declares to the defendant, The Pennsylvania State University.

So yes, here comes Mike McQueary, 11 months after the Sandusky scandal broke big, the one-time, would-be, Penn State coaching lifer, beaten up and broken down, swinging back with just about all he has left.

Follow us: @CindyBoren | @MattBrooksWP

More

Sandusky sentencing set for Tuesday

Sandusky convicted on 45 counts

Biography: Paterno “sobbed uncontrollably” after firing

Sandusky awaits sentencing as his lawyer weighs options

Sandusky writing a book?

Sandusky “extremely distraught” over Penn State’s NCAA penalties

Penn State punishment: wins from ’98-’11 vacated, $60 million fine

Sandusky convicted of child sex abuse

Sandusky tells Bob Costas he showered with boys

There’s no joy in Bowdenville

 

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · October 3, 2012