Penn State puts Mike McQueary, who reported sexual abuse, on leave
Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, whose grand jury testimony led eventually to public disclosure of the child sex-abuse allegations engulfing the school, was placed on administrative leave Friday afternoon.
The news came after the university said McQueary, who has received numerous threats, wouldn't be attending Penn State's game Saturday against Nebraska.
For some — including Penn State fans who blame McQueary for costing legendary coach Joe Paterno his job and damaging the football program's reputation — an indefinite administrative leave is not good enough. They want him fired — now. "How is it Mike McQueary, who saw the incident, [is] still employed and JoePa, who never saw anything [is] out of the job?" asked one commenter on Twitter.
McQueary told a grand jury that he witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in a campus shower in 2002. McQueary did nothing to interrupt the violence and instead reported it to Paterno, who relayed the account to Penn State's athletic director. The school never reported the information to law enforcement.
The athletic director and Penn State's president have been charged criminally in the case for amid allegations that they tried to cover up the alleged abuse to protect the school's reputation and its football program.
Paterno, who the state attorney general has said isn't a target in the case, also was fired in a move the board of trustees depicted as an effort by Penn State to put the scandal behind it.
Sandusky now faces 40 charges of child abuse and assault allegations and up to 460 years if convicted. He maintains his innocence.
As for McQueary, who reportedly is being paid while on administrative leave, some are asking why he wasn't fired outright, given that he didn't stop the assault or call police. Neither the school nor the police are saying.
One theory is that McQueary is being protected in exchange for his testimony. Another theory is that McQueary's job is protected by whistle-blower laws.
Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington, told ESPN that there is a higher standard for the head coach than a then-28-year-old graduate assistant: "You have to look at where the employee is on the totem pole," Kohn said. "There are different expectations at different levels. ... The last thing you want to do is create an environment where people don't even tell the supervisor."
— Rene Lynch
Photo: Mike McQueary. Credit: Tony Ding /Associated Press