BELLEFONTE, Pa. - Former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary told the jurors in Jerry Sandusky’s sex abuse trial Tuesday that he saw his ex-colleague with a prepubescent boy in an on-campus shower and that he heard a “skin-on-skin smacking sound.’’
His account of the night differed little from his testimony in December at a preliminary hearing for Penn State administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who kept a secret file on Sandusky, according to media reports.
The one difference: He said the shower encounter took place in 2001 instead of 2002.
But the effect of what he saw, and heard, was unchanged, he said, responding to questions from Senior Deputy Attorney General Joseph McGettigan.
Sandusky faces 52 criminal counts related to the alleged assaults of 10 boys during a 15-year period. Authorities allege that Sandusky abused boys at his home and inside the football team’s on-campus facilities, among other places.
McQueary told the jury that he was at home, in bed, watching the film “Rudy,’’ when he decided to go to the football team building. He said he walked into the support staff locker room to put away a pair of new sneakers and, as he opened the door, he heard the noise.
“Very much skin-on-skin smacking sound,’’ he said. “I immediately became alert and was kind of embarrassed that I was walking in on something.’’
He said that he turned and glanced over his right shoulder at a mirror that had a 45-degree angle and saw Sandusky “standing behind a boy who was propped up against a wall.’’ He estimated the boy to be 10 to 12 years old.
He said that the “boy’s hands [were] up on the wall. The glance would have taken only one or two seconds. I immediately turned back to my locker to make sure I saw what I saw.’’
McQueary said he looked directly into the shower and saw Sandusky “standing right up against the back of a young boy’’ with his arms around his midsection - “the closest proximity that I think you can be in.’’
When asked what he saw, McQueary said “the defendant’s midsection was moving’’ subtly.
McQueary said he tried to think and then put his shoes in his locker and slammed it shut, hard.
“I made the loud noise in an attempt to say, ‘Someone’s here! Break it up!’ ’’ said McQueary, adding that he stepped closer to the opening of the shower room and saw they were separated and facing him directly.
“We looked directly in each other’s eyes and at that time I left the locker room,’’ he said.
“It was more than my brain could handle. I was making decisions on the fly. I picked up the phone and called my father to get advice from the person I trusted most in my life, because I just saw something ridiculous.’’
He said he was very vague on the phone, and that his father told him to leave immediately and come to the house.
McQueary said he went to head coach Joe Paterno’s house the next morning and relayed what he had seen, but did not describe the act explicitly, out of respect for the coach and his own embarrassment.
He said Curley called him a week after the talk with Paterno, and he attended a meeting with him and Schultz. They “just listened to what I had said,’’ McQueary testified. About a week or two later, he said, Curley told him they had looked into it.
McQueary’s testimony came after a teen-ager told jurors that a school district guidance counselor initially didn’t believe his abuse claims because the former coach had “a heart of gold.’’
The teen, labeled Victim No. 1 by a grand jury, tearfully recounted repeated instances of abuse, which he said included kissing, fondling, and oral sex.