In Defense Of Penn State’s Mike McQueary
Note: This is a guest post by SportsGrid publisher and ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely his.
Ask 100 random people who is most to blame for the child molestation scandal at Penn State, and I am guessing that after alleged pedophile Jerry Sandusky, you would probably get many if not most pointing the finger at “the guy who saw it but didn’t report it.” That guy: the now-much-despised and maligned Penn State coach Mike McQueary.
McQueary, currently on administrative leave from his job as a result of death threats, came out publicly late yesterday in an email to friends, saying, “I did the right thing. . the truth is not out there fully… I didn’t just turn and run… I made sure it stopped…” Whatever that means, exactly, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that McQueary has been scapegoated as the villain in this horrible story of alleged rape, predatory pedophilia and administrative misdeeds and inaction.
McQueary’s been called less than a human being. His continued employment by Penn State has been called “inappropriate to common decency.” Whenever I even mention McQueary’s name, the responses often evoke the sort of anger that might be reserved for an accomplice to the crime, or at least someone who did nothing at all after witnessing a child being attacked.
But that is not what happened here. Not even close. Not only did McQueary report what he saw, his testimony in front of the grand jury (deemed to be “extremely credible”) singelehandedly led to two Penn State officials being charged with perjury and failing to report the alleged crime. So why isn’t the primary focus, the scorn, on them?
Tim Curley, the former athletic director, and Gary Schultz, the university senior vice president who oversaw the campus police force, were found to be “not credible” and charged for denying McQueary told them a boy was being raped in the shower. Curley recalled the report from McQueary as just “horsing around,” while Schultz denied ever hearing about a crime, and even testified that the allegations he knew of were “not that serious.”
Those exact words from Curley, “horsing around,” have now become the lynchpin of the defense’s case. It is, after all, the exact language Sandusky and his lawyer used in an interview last night to describe and defend his conduct. Furthermore, Schultz knew about a previous report of Sandusky behaving inappropriately with boys from 1998. So why isn’t the outrage focused on them?