Penn State Sued by Former Coach McQueary Over Firing

The former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach whose testimony helped convict Jerry Sandusky of sex abuse charges sued the university for $4 million in lost earnings.

Mike McQueary, who was placed on administrative leave in November and terminated in July, claims the university fired him because of his cooperation with state prosecutors, according to the complaint made public yesterday in state court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. He’s seeking $4 million in lost future earnings plus unspecified damages for legal fees and the distress, anguish and humiliation caused by his role in the Sandusky case, according to the complaint.

McQueary was “ostracized and isolated from a community of individuals, colleagues and friends and a program which had been an integral part of his life for approximately 20 years,” Elliot Strokoff, his lawyer, said in the complaint.

Sandusky, 68, who spent 31 seasons as a defensive assistant football coach under Joe Paterno, was convicted in June on 45 criminal counts tied to the abuse of boys over a 15-year period. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week. McQueary was a key witness in the prosecution’s case, testifying that he saw Sandusky abusing a boy in football locker room shower in February 2001 and reported the incident to Paterno and other Penn State officials.

David La Torre, a spokesman for Penn State, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Curley, Schultz

McQueary’s testimony on the 2001 incident is at the heart of a related case against two Penn State officials for their handling of the allegation. Timothy Curley, the athletics director at the time, and Gary Schultz, a former vice president in charge of university police, face trial in January on charges they lied to a grand jury and failed to report the incident to authorities. McQueary is expected to be a witness at that trial.

McQueary said he was placed on administrative leave from his $140,400-a-year job on Nov. 13, eight days after Sandusky was charged and three days after he was barred from coaching. He found out he’d been fired on July 5 after watching a televised news conference.

Penn State’s “discriminatory treatment” since Nov. 5 has caused McQueary “distress, anxiety and embarrassment,” according to the complaint. His report about the Sandusky incident and his testimony to a grand jury and at a hearing in December for Curley and Schultz “were truthful, and made without malice or consideration of personal benefit,” Strokoff said in the complaint.

The case is McQueary v. The Pennsylvania State University, 2012-1804, Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Pennsylvania (Bellefonte)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Philadelphia at spearson3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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