Mike McQueary, the Penn State assistant football coach whose eyewitness testimony proved central in the university’s child sex-abuse scandal, now plans to sue the university.
McQueary has filed the preliminary paperwork necessary for a “whistleblower” lawsuit against the university, according to a story posted online Tuesday by reporter Mike Dawson of the Centre Daily Times in Pennsylvania.
The four-page document does not discuss details of the pending lawsuit but puts all parties on alert that McQueary will attempt to seek damages “outside normal arbitration limits,” according to the story.
A Penn State spokesman told the Associated Press on Tuesday that McQueary remains on the payroll and that school officials can’t comment because they haven’t seen the filing.
McQueary played a pivotal and controversial role in the case involving another former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he used his role with the famed football program to lure in, then sexually abuse, young boys.
The allegations rocked the upper echelons of the school administration last year. The fallout led to the dismissal of the school president and two other top-ranking officials -- and to the controversial ouster of legendary football coach Joe Paterno. (Paterno later died of lung cancer.)
McQueary testified before a grand jury last year that he saw Sandusky in a sexual encounter with a minor in the school locker room in 2002. McQueary said he did nothing to stop the alleged rape but told Paterno about it the following day.
McQueary became a lightning rod for controversy after his testimony was made known late last year. He was blamed both by those who thought Paterno was being scapegoated, as well as those who say McQueary should have reported Sandusky to the police instead of leaving it with Paterno. The latter also failed to alert law enforcement.
The school said it was placing McQueary on administrative leave for his own safety after he began receiving death threats.
The criminal case against Sandusky is proceeding in criminal court, but the prosecution may have suffered a setback this week because of controversy regarding McQueary’s testimony. McQueary had to amend his testimony to correct the year in which he allegedly witnessed Sandusky abusing the boy.
The prosecution now says that incident took place one year earlier, in 2001. The defense is likely to use that error to raise questions about the validity of McQueary’s testimony.