College Football: Penn Statre assistant put on leave
Published 12:00 am Friday, November 11, 2011
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. ó Penn State placed assistant coach Mike McQueary on administrative leave, capping a tumultuous week in which his name surfaced as a key witness in a grand jury investigation into child sexual abuse allegations against a former coach.
School president Rod Erickson notified McQueary of the decision Friday, a day after the school said the receivers coach would not be present Saturday when the Nittany Lions play Nebraska because he has received threats. Penn State’s receivers coach, McQueary spoke with his players after being placed on leave, which Erickson said was indefinite.
McQueary testified in a grand jury investigation that eventually led to child sex-abuse charges being filed against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The ensuing scandal brought down longtime coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by university trustees amid growing criticism that he should have done more to stop the alleged abuse.
McQueary, who testified that he saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy in the shower in 2002, has endured similar scrutiny. The university’s athletic department released a one-line statement Thursday night saying it would be “in the best interest of all” if the receivers coach didn’t attend the season’s final home game at Beaver Stadium. The school did not provide details on precisely who threatened McQueary.
Asked if McQueary was placed on leave for his conduct or to ensure his safety, Erickson said it was “a complicated situation.
“What became clear is that, under any circumstances, he would not be able to function in a coaching role,” Erickson said in his first news conference as president. He replaced Graham Spanier who, like Paterno, was fired Wednesday night.
Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have each been charged with perjury. Curley has taken administrative leave, while Schultz ó who was already working on an interim capacity ó has returned to retirement.
Paterno has not been implicated, and prosecutors have said he is not a target of the investigation. Curley and Schultz, through their attorneys, have denied wrongdoing.
The campus leaders faced mounting public criticism for failing to call police and prevent further suspected cases. So, too, has McQueary, who has not spoken publicly. His mother, Anne, said Thursday they have been advised not to comment.