A Penn State assistant football coach testified Friday that he believes he saw former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky molesting a boy and that he fully conveyed what he had seen to two Penn State administrators.
But he said he was not 100% sure that what he saw was intercourse.
It was the first time Mike McQueary has spoken in public about the alleged incident that's at the core of a sexual abuse scandal that brought down legendary football coach Joe Paterno, the university's president and has raised questions about whether the football program was more important than the safety of children.
He testified for two hours Friday at a preliminary hearing for former Penn State University athletic director Tim Curley and former senior vice president Gary Schultz. They are accused of providing inaccurate information to a Pennsylvania grand jury and failing to report allegations of child sex abuse involving former assistant coach Sandusky to law enforcement authorities.
McQueary had told the grand jury that he witnessed Sandusky raping a child believed to be about 10 years old in 2002.
McQueary said Friday that he heard "rhythmic slapping sounds" in a locker room shower and saw Jerry Sandusky with his arms wrapped around a child.
"I believe they were having some kind of intercourse," McQueary said as his mother sat in the courtroom on the verge of tears.
McQueary said he moved toward the shower and Sandusky separated from the boy.
"I know they saw me," he said. "They looked directly in my eye, both of them."
McQueary said he then left.
"I was distraught and horrified," he said.
Under cross examination McQueary said "I didn't see insertion or penetration. I testify that I can not tell you 1,000% sure that's what I saw." He said he saw no part of Sandusky's genitals touching the boy.
Friday's court appearances for the two administrators come just three days after Sandusky, the primary suspect in the child sex abuse investigation, abruptly waived his right to a preliminary hearing where 11 witnesses — many of them alleged victims — were poised to testify against him.
The waiver means that Sandusky's case is directly referred to trial on 52 counts of child abuse and misconduct.
The hearing Friday determines whether Curley and Schultz also will face a criminal trial. The charges against them hinge largely on McQueary's testimony.
They told the grand jury that McQueary reported only that Sandusky was involved in "inappropriate" conduct with a young boy and that the report did not include details about the rape of a young boy.
McQueary's story has become the centerpiece of the case against Sandusky and the administrators. But since his grand jury testimony there have been several reports of inconsistencies in what he might have seen and reported.
Defense attorney Joe Amendola said Tuesday that his strategy to prove that Sandusky is innocent will be to attack McQueary's credibility. Lawyers for Curley and Schultz have also said they plan to take the same approach.
Preliminary hearings in Pennsylvania limit defense challenges into witness credibility.
But Friday's testimony was consistent with McQueary's grand jury testimony.
He said that he estimated the boy he saw was about 10 or 12 years old, caucasian and had wet hair and that when he saw him in the shower he was facing a wall with his hands on it.
He said that after he left he drove to his dad's house and over time that evening he decided to tell former football coach Joe Paterno about the incident.
At Paterno's house the next day, sitting at his kitchen table, McQueary said he described what he saw and that he told Paterno that Sandusky was in a "sexual" act with the child and described it as "extremely sexual."
McQueary said he did not give Paterno explicit details of what he believed he'd seen, saying he wouldn't have used terms like sodomy or anal intercourse out of respect for the longtime coach. He described it as "rough positioning" of Sandusky and the boy.
He said Paterno told him he had "done the right thing" by reporting what he saw. The head coach appeared shocked and saddened and slumped back in his chair, McQueary said.
Ten days after speaking with Paterno he said he met with Curley and Schultz.
"There is no question in my mind that I conveyed to them that I saw Jerry Sandusky in the showers with a boy and there was severe sexual acts going on and it was wrong and over the line," he said.
But he said he did not use the words "anal intercourse" or "sodomy."
McQueary said Schultz never followed up with him but that neither Schultz or Curley told him not to talk to anyone.
"Joe Paterno did ask me … two or three months after that … if I was OK in relation to what I saw and if I was handling it OK," McQueary said.
McQueary said he was left with the impression both men took his report seriously. When asked why he didn't go to police, he referenced Schultz'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 said. "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."
McQueary's father, John McQueary, also testified and said he related to Schultz what his son had witnessed in the shower room involving Sandusky. He said he described Sandusky's behavior, as related by his son, as "sexual in nature … and that something should be done about it."
"I told him enough that I feel like he got the picture," John McQueary told the courtroom. "I never used the word 'crime.'"
Former Penn State police chief Tom Harmon testified that he alerted Schultz to a 1998 investigation of abuse allegations involving Sandusky. Harmon said he spoke to Schultz four times during the course of that inquiry. Harmon eventually referred that investigation to the local districy attorney who did not pursue criminal charges.
Harmon said Schultz never alerted him to the 2002 allegations.
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