Warning: This story contains graphic details.
Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary testified Friday in a Pennsylvania courtroom that he saw Jerry Sandusky acting “extremely sexual” with a boy in a shower in a Penn State locker room one evening back in 2002.
McQueary spoke publicly for the first time about the incident at the preliminary hearing for two Penn State officials, Tim Curley, 57, and Gary Schultz, 62, who are accused of covering up Sandusky’s crimes.
In court, McQueary said he believes Sandusky, also an assistant coach at the time, was sexually molesting the boy, but said he wasn’t 100 percent sure it was intercourse.
In graphic detail, McQueary, 27, testified that he saw Sandusky, 67, with his hands around the boy’s waist. He said the boy was facing a wall, with his hands on it.
The position was very “sexually oriented,” McQueary testified, according to NBC News. McQueary said he heard slapping sounds, “skin on skin,” but he said he couldn’t hear any yells or screams and could not say with “100 percent certainty it was forced.”
McQueary said he looked into the shower several times and that the last time he looked in, Sandusky and the boy had separated. He said he didn’t say anything, but “I know they saw me. They looked directly in my eye, both of them.”
He estimated the boy was about 10-or-12 years old.
McQueary said he was “distraught,” “shocked,” and “horrified.” He said he called his father, and at his dad’s advice, reported what he saw to coach Joe Paterno the next morning.
McQueary testified he did not give Paterno graphic details of what he had seen out of respect for the legendary 84-year-old coach.
“I never used the word sodomy or anal sex out of respect for Joe Paterno,” McQueary said on the witness stand in a hearing today, relating what he reported to the head coach. “I would not have done it [said it that way]. I sat at the kitchen table and told him that I saw Jerry with a young boy in the shower and it was way over the lines, extremely sexual in nature and thought I needed to tell him about it.”
He said Paterno told him he’d “done the right thing” by reporting what he saw. Paterno appeared shocked and saddened and slumped back in his chair, McQueary testified.
Paterno told McQueary he would talk to others about what he had told him.
Nine or 10 days later, McQueary said he met with Penn state officials Curley and Shultz and told them he’d seen Sandusky and a boy, both naked, in the shower.
“I told them that I saw Jerry in the showers with a young boy and that what I had seen was extremely sexual and over the lines and it was wrong,” McQueary said. “I would have described that it was extremely sexual and I thought that some kind of intercourse was going on.”
McQueary said he believed at the time that Curley and Shultz took his report seriously. When asked why he didn’t go to police, he noted Shultz’s position as a vice president at the university who had overseen the campus police.
“I thought I was talking to the head of the police, to be frank with you,” he explained. “In my mind it was like speaking to a (district attorney). It was someone who police reported to and would know what to do with it.”
Curley and Schultz are both charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to properly report what McQueary allegedly told them.
Friday’s hearing was meant to help District Judge William C. Wenner decide whether state prosecutors have enough evidence against the two men to send their cases to trial.
McQueary was the first of five witnesses expected to testify Friday.
The men claim they are innocent and that McQueary didn’t convey the seriousness of what he allegedly saw.
As for Sandusky, he faces more than 50 charges for the alleged sexual assault of 10 boys over 15 years. This week, he waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will go to trial; he too claims he is innocent.
The scandal has provoked strong criticism that Penn State officials didn’t do enough to stop Sandusky, and triggered the departures of Paterno and the school’s longtime president, Graham Spanier.