November 16, 2011 · 0 Comments
(CNN) – A Penn State assistant football coach, who has been criticized for not doing more in an alleged rape of a boy by former coach Jerry Sandusky, said in an e-mail that he helped stop the assault and talked with police about it, The Morning Call newspaper reported.
“I did stop it, not physically, but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room,” assistant coach Mike McQueary wrote in the November 8 e-mail to a former classmate obtained by the Allentown, Pennsylvania, newspaper.
“No one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30-45 seconds,” McQueary said. “Trust me.”
McQueary also wrote that he “did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police” following the alleged incident involving Sandusky.
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The information is the first to indicate he had discussions with police.
Agrand jury report released this month said McQueary, then a graduate assistant, allegedly saw Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State locker room in 2002.
McQueary, informed Joe Paterno, the team’s coach at the time, according to the report.
Paterno then alerted his boss, the school’s athletic director.
The scandal revolves around a 40-count indictment of Sandusky who is charged with sexually abusing eight boys — and allegations that Penn State officials failed to contact police when the complaints reached them.
The grand jury report led to the firing last week of Paterno and Penn State President Graham Spanier. McQueary was put on administrative leave.
The grand jury report says Sandusky molested young boys after developing close relationships with them through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths. He has been freed on $100,000 bail, against the wishes of prosecutors.
While every other commonwealth agency is subject to Pennsylvania’s open records law, Penn State is exempt, making it difficult to get information about who knew what and when regarding the sex abuse claims.
Penn State, along with three other schools that receive state funds, don’t fall under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law, according to Terry Mutchler, the executive director of the state’s Office of Open Records.
“If this were an investigation involving another university … that did have a scandal at its doorstep, they were subject to the Right to Know Law,” Mutchler told CNN.
“You were able to obtain, in that situation, e-mails, copies of incident reports at the police department, any kind of policies that came out with the Board of Trustees. That would all be available,” she said. “At Penn State, however, that’s off limits.”
In 2007, state lawmakers considered a change that would have included the school. But Spanier testified against the move before the House State Government Committee.
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He told the legislature he was concerned about cost and compliance. He also said they were competitive reasons for keeping records private.
“Nobody would argue the point that the public has a right to know how public funds are spent,” Spanier said at the time. “But these proposals will fundamentally change the way we operate, the way our trustees govern and the way the university administers their policies.”
Meanwhile, lawyers for two university officials charged with failing to report sexual abuse claims about Sandusky blasted prosecutors Tuesday for trying to delay an upcoming hearing, saying their clients deserve a speedy trial.
Pennsylvania’s attorney general’s office filed court papers Tuesday saying it was “not available to proceed” with a preliminary hearing for Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, the senior vice president for finance and business. The hearing had been set for Thursday.
The attorney general’s office proposed several dates in early December as an alternative, but offered no further explanation for the requested delay.
Curley and Schultz “are anxious to face their accusers, clear their good names and go on with their lives,” their attorneys said in a joint written statement.
Sandusky told NBC’s Bob Costas on Monday that he has been falsely accused, saying that he only “horsed around” with kids in the shower after workouts.
Asked if Paterno had ever spoken to him about his behavior or expressed disapproval, Sandusky said simply, “No.”
And asked if he felt guilty over the spreading fallout that has affected the university and prominent university figures, including the fired Paterno, Sandusky responded, “I don’t think it was my fault. I obviously played a part in this. … I shouldn’t have showered with those kids. That’s what hits me the most.”
Sandusky denied being sexually attracted to young boys, and his lawyer, Joe Amendola, told CNN on Monday night that showering with children does not equate automatically to sexual assault.
“Jerry Sandusky is a big, overgrown kid. He’s a jock,” Amendola told CNN’s Jason Carroll. “The bottom line is jocks do that — they kid around, they horse around.”
In the NBC interview, Sandusky flatly denied one of the charges in the grand jury report — that McQueary had walked in on him raping a boy about 10 years of age.
The fallout from the grand jury report has shaken the Penn State community.
Rosey Grier, a former Penn State player and NFL star, told CNN’s Piers Morgan that Paterno and other school officials got caught trying to protect the school from a scandal.
“I think that honestly he made a mistake,” Grier said of the former head coach. “I think that it should have been exposed right away. They would not have this problem today.”
Sandusky’s release on unsecured bail has fueled criticism of the Centre County judge who approved it.
Judge Leslie Dutchcot was at one point a volunteer for Sandusky’s The Second Mile charity, according to her biography on a law firm website. It is not clear whether she has any current affiliation with the organization, and the judge did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.
Campaign finance records released by a Philadelphia-area state representative reveal a Second Mile board member raised money for Dutchcot.
Rep. Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery, sent letters Tuesday to Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald D. Castille and Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly calling for Dutchcot to recuse herself from the Sandusky case.
“If a conflict of interest does exist for Judge Dutchcot, as it appears to due to her connections with the Second Mile, the only appropriate action is for Judge Dutchcot to recuse herself from the case,” Vereb wrote in his letter to Castille.
Vereb did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Robert Poole — the chairman of The Second Mile — and his wife hosted a fundraiser at their home on October 9, 2007, for the Committee to Elect Leslie A. Dutchcot District Judge, according to one document. The event raised $1,463.02.
Another document shows the Pooles contributed $1,000 on October 31, 2007, to the committee.
Sandusky was arrested on November 5, after the release of the grand jury report detailing crimes that he allegedly committed between 1994 and 2009.
Judge Dutchcot freed him on $100,000 bail, against the wishes of prosecutors.
A biography of Dutchcot posted on the website of the law firm Goodall & Yurchak listed her as a volunteer for The Second Mile.
The Sandusky case has led to investigations by the U.S. Department of Education, the university and The Second Mile, as well as by state prosecutors.
Separately, Penn State’s interim coach denied rumors Tuesday that the embattled football team would decline a bowl bid at season’s end.
“We’ve been assured that’s not the case for the bowl game,” Tom Bradley told reporters. He also said that the possibility of the team not playing next year hasn’t come up, and he praised his players for weathering the storm around the scandal.
Paterno’s firing has been a “distraction,” Bradley said, but the players “were great yesterday at practice.”
Penn State is 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten Conference, remaining in contention for the league title. Its next game is Saturday against Ohio State.
CNN’s Mary Snow and Sarah Hoye reported from State College; Ed Payne, Joe Sterling, Matt Smith, Josh Levs, Monte Plott and Dana Ford from Atlanta; and Barbara Starr from weather.info/home/index.cfm?city=Washington,%20DC,%20United%20States&latlon=38.89511,-77.03637&u=c”>Washington.
By Emma Brown