HARRISBURG — Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno said Old Main “screwed it up” in handling child sexual abuse allegations in 2001 against his long-time assistant Jerry Sandusky, according to testimony Monday from Mike McQueary in Harrisburg.
McQueary, who as a Penn State graduate student allegedly witnessed Sandusky molesting a young boy in a shower in November 2001 on the Penn State campus, was the first witness called Monday in a preliminary hearing for Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, three former top administrators accused of covering up the abuse.
McQueary, who reported the shower incident to Paterno the following day, testified Monday that he spoke with the late coach several times about the incident in the proceeding years and said Paterno was upset with how the university handled the allegations.
“He said ‘Old Main screwed it up,’” McQueary testified.
McQueary said he and Paterno would occasionally discuss the incident in passing, with the legendary coach once calling Sandusky a “sick man.”
Paterno later allegedly warned McQueary after Sandusky’s arrest that the university would make McQueary a scapegoat and advised him to trust his attorneys not the administration.
That advice came the Wednesday after Sandusky was arrested on child abuse charges and the earlier in the same day that Paterno would be fired by the university’s trustees.
“He said ‘the university is going to come down on you. Don’t worry about me. They’re going to try to scapegoat you. Trust your lawyers. Don’t trust Cynthia Baldwin. Don’t trust Old Main,’” McQueary testified.
McQueary, a star witness during Sandusky’s criminal trial, also testified he told Curley and Schultz of what he saw in the shower during a meeting shortly after. He said he told both men that he saw a young boy being molested.
Prosecutors called McQueary to the stand Monday as they begin to make their case that they have enough evidence against Spanier, Curley and Schultz to proceed to trial.