(CN) – A former Penn State student who testified that he witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually attack a young boy in 2001 says in court that the university defamed him.
Sandusky, a 30-year Penn State coach and defensive coordinator, was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse on June 22 following a two-year grand jury investigation.
In a new complaint filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Centre County, Pa., Michael McQueary says he observed Sandusky’s misconduct in 2001, reported it and was humiliated 10 years later as the school scrambled to cover its end.
A former Penn State quarterback, McQueary says he was working as a graduate assistant coach for the school’s Nittany Lions football team when he saw Sandusky engage “in highly inappropriate and illegal sexual conduct with a boy who appeared to be about 10 to 12 years old” in locker room showers on Feb. 9, 2001.
McQueary reported the incident to the now late head coach, Joe Paterno, the following morning, the complaint states. Paterno allegedly told McQueary that he “had done the right thing” and “that this was very disturbing.”
Paterno relayed the events to Athletic Director Tim Curley, and McQueary met with Curley and Gary Schultz, a vice president, about a week later, according to the complaint.
But despite promises to investigate the incident, the officials allegedly failed to alert police or youth services.
McQueary says he was promoted to a full-time assistant coach in 2004 and received a severance commitment from the university in 2008.
It took years for the allegations about Sandusky’s abuse to reach a grand jury, but McQueary says he testified in 2010 that he saw Sandusky rape the boy.
When the jury’s findings were made public in November 2011, then-Penn State President Graham Spanier issued a statement suggesting that McQueary had committed perjury and lied about reporting Sandusky back in 2001.
McQueary says he was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 10, 2011, a day after the school fired Paterno. McQueary learned about his own firing during a televised news conference on July 5, according to the complaint. The school allegedly delayed his severance pay until Sept. 17.
McQueary says he was denied the use of a university car, did not receive a bowl bonus and was not allowed to interview for a position when coach Bill O’Brien took over the football squad.
Penn State “has not retracted, withdrawn or apologized” for Spanier’s statements, McQueary says.
“Spanier’s statements have have irreparably harmed plaintiff’s reputation for honesty and integrity, and have irreparably harmed the plaintiff’s ability to earn a living, especially in his chosen profession of college football,” according to the complaint.
McQueary says that he is the only Penn State employee who was not reimbursed for fees associated with the criminal investigation in which he was made a “scapegoat.”
The complaint seeks $4 million in lost future wages; general damages for “distress, anguish, humiliation and embarrassment;” and punitive damages on whistle-blower, defamation and misrepresentation grounds.
McQueary is represented by Elliot Strokoff with Strokoff & Cowden of Harrisburg.
Sandusky, 69, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 9 and faces a maximum of 442 years in prison.
Paterno died of complications from lung cancer on Jan. 22.
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