Pennsylvania State University lost a court bid to dismiss a lawsuit by former assistant football coach Mike McQueary over claims he was fired because of his cooperation in the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse case.
Judge Thomas Gavin overruled the university’s preliminary objections to the complaint in a ruling today in state court in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Penn State had sought to toss the suit arguing allegations that the school had defamed McQueary and made him a scapegoat in the Sandusky scandal were groundless.
“Upon review of the complaint, McQueary has sufficiently pled facts of outrageous conduct on the part of Penn State,” Gavin wrote in his ruling. He gave the school 20 days to respond to the complaint.
McQueary, who was terminated in July, sued Penn State in October for $4 million in lost earnings. He claims the university fired him for his cooperation with state prosecutors. He was a key witness in a June trial against Sandusky and his testimony is at the center of a related case against three former school officials: President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley.
Sandusky, a defensive assistant football coach under the late Joe Paterno, was sentenced in October to at least 30 years in prison for sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.
McQueary alleged in his complaint that he was ostracized and defamed by school officials including Spanier, who came out in support Schultz and Curley when charges against those men were first announced.
The case is McQueary v. Pennsylvania State University, 2012-1804, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Centre County (Bellefonte).