At Sandusky Trial, Mike McQueary Describes Phone Call to Joe Paterno
Mike McQueary says he saw it three times: First, for a few seconds when he opened his locker and shot a glance at the mirror behind him. Second, when he turned to see it with his own eyes. Third, after he slammed the locker shut and turned. Testifying today at the Jerry Sandusky trial, Mike McQueary said that in a Penn State locker room, he stared directly at Jerry Sandusky and a pre-pubescent boy, who has not come forward.
He had heard skin-on-skin slapping sounds. Embarrassed, he headed directly for his locker room, opened the locker and looked into it. Behind him a mirror angled at 45 degrees into a shower. What he saw: Jerry Sandusky with his hands around the midsection of a pre-pubescent boy, the boys hand pressed against the shower wall.
“I’m used to pressure situations, but I can tell you this, that was more than my brain could handle at the time,” McQueary testified.
So he stepped to the right to see it with his own eyes. “This is the Penn State football building,” he said. “No, you don’t register that.” He slammed the locker shut, in an attempt to make noise and break up what he saw. “I made eye contact with them,” he testified. And then, he walked out.
He went to his office and called his father, who told him to immediately come home. He drove about seven minutes back to his State College home and went to his father’s bedroom. He told him he saw something perverse, sexual and inappropriate between Sandusky—whom McQueary looked directly at when mentioning his name during testimony—and a boy.
He said he told his father, “Dad, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what was going on.” His father said he needed a minute to digest it and called Jonathan Dranov, a family friend, for advice. Dranov came over to the State College home.
McQueary had grown up in State College, had gone to Penn State and played football. He went on to work for the team, under Coach Joe Paterno. McQueary’s father said that’s who his son needed to see then.
He went to bed early. He woke up and walked his dogs. And at 7:15 a.m., he phoned the head coach. His testimony: “At the time, we had a couple of job openings on the staff. I said, ‘Coach Paterno, it’s Mike McQueary. Can I come over to talk?’ He said, ‘No, I’m not giving you a job.’”
The courtroom, including the nearly dozen Sandusky friends and family in attendance, laughed. The answer, of course, is classic Paterno. McQueary continued: “I said, ‘This is about something important.’ He said, ‘OK, come over.’”
He testified that he told Paterno that he saw an incident sexual in nature but “did not go into gross detail about the actual act.”
“I didn’t explain those details out of respect and probably my own embarrassment, to be frank with you,” he testified. The conversation lasted minutes.