"If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain."

Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

A Library in Your Pocket

July 24, 2012

Why Mike McQueary should never be allowed to coach again

There is no disputing that the grand jury and criminal trial testimony of Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary was instrumental in finally ending Jerry Sandusky's  disgusting and long unfettered sexual abuse of children.  But be clear: Mike McQueary is no hero.

Nor is he by any stretch of the imagination a whistleblower.  

At best, McQueary is a  spineless coward who literally turned his back on the young child he personally saw being raped by Jerry Sandusky in 2001. At worst,  McQueary is an opportunist who capitalized on his eye witness status and traded his willingness to keep Penn State's dirtiest secret in exchange for continued employment on its  revered football coaching staff 

While McQueary's  obvious spinelessness may explain his initial failure to rescue or protect in any manner the child he witnessed being raped by Sandusky,  in the decade plus that followed with many more children being raped by Jerry Sandusky, how can Mike McQueary possibly justify to himself let alone anyone else why he continued to work at a university that openly perpetuated a relationship with Jerry Sandusky and condoned his continued involvement with children. 

Importantly, the Freeh report found that under existing law McQueary was required to report that he witnessed Jerry Sandusky raping a young child to the Penn State police department and that McQueary failed to do so. (Freeh Report at page 118.) 

According to McQueary's testimony at the Curley-Schultz preliminary hearing, when he phoned head coach Joe Paterno a day after he witnessed Sandusky raping a child in the  Penn State showers, this was their conversation:

        "I said, Coach,  I need to come to your house and talk to you about something.

        He said, I don't have a job for you. And if that's what it's about, don't bother coming over. 

        I said, Coach,  it's about something much more serious. I need to come over and see you.

        And he said, okay. Well, you better come over then."

Before McQueary told Coach Paterno about  witnessing Sandusky's sexual abuse of a child, Paterno made it clear to McQueary, who was then just a graduate student/assistant coach, that there was no job for him at Penn State.  But after McQueary met with Paterno and disclosed to Paterno the sexual abuse of a child by Sandusky that he had personally witnessed in the Penn State football showers, then miraculously there was a job for McQueary and there continued to be a coaching job for McQueary for all the years Paterno continued as Penn State's head football coach.

Why did a Penn State football coaching job suddenly materialize for McQueary?  


In my opinion, the answer is obvious. For Joe Paterno to engage in a successful cover-up of Sandusky's disgusting sexual abuse of children at Penn State, Paterno needed to keep McQueary in the fold. 

Certainly, Paterno could not count on McQueary keeping the lid of Sandusky's criminal conduct if McQueary left Penn State. 

So McQueary suddenly had the inside track to becoming Paterno's heir apparent and Paterno had a key piece to the cover-up he instigated. For these two men it was a seemingly win win situation. 

Of course, that equation only worked if you ignored the children Jerry Sandusky was victimizing, something both McQueary and Paterno demonstrated they were more than willing to do.