A jury has ordered Pennsylvania State University to pay $7.3 million to the football coach who blew the whistle on Jerry Sandusky as a child molester in 2001 and then was fired after the Sandusky scandal erupted, in 2011, the Associated Press reports.
The jury, sitting in Centre County Court, ruled for the former graduate assistant coach, Mike McQueary, on Thursday, after a two-week trial and just four hours of deliberations. The verdict suggests that Mr. McQueary remains as persuasive to jurors today as he was in 2012, when his testimony at Mr. Sandusky’s trial helped to convict him. Mr. Sandusky, convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.
Soon after that trial, Mr. McQueary’s contract came up for renewal, and Penn State did not renew it. He later sued the university, accusing it of retaliation for his cooperation with the prosecution in the Sandusky case, among other things. The jury’s award, which includes $5 million in punitive damages, could be expanded by the presiding judge, who is considering a separate whistle-blower claim.
Thursday’s verdict also suggests how Mr. McQueary’s testimony is likely to be viewed by the court hearing a case against three top Penn State administrators, including Graham B. Spanier, the former president, who face charges of endangering the welfare of children and of failing to properly report suspected child abuse. A trial date has not been set in that case.
In 2001, Mr. McQueary walked in on Mr. Sandusky sodomizing a boy in the Penn State football team’s shower. Mr. McQueary reported what he had seen to Joe Paterno, the revered head coach, but apparently little was done beyond barring Mr. Sandusky from bringing children to the team’s facilities.
A Penn State spokesman told the AP that the university would have no comment until the judge makes his final ruling.Return to Top