clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Former Penn State assistant claimed Joe Paterno said he’d heard Jerry Sandusky allegations before

The Paterno family has maintained that the longtime coach didn’t know about Sandusky’s actions until 2001.

Penn State Community Shaken By Sex Abuse Scandal Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

From a CNN report on Mike McQueary, a new detail on the former Penn State assistant coach who told former head coach Joe Paterno about witnessing former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky committing sexual assault:

McQueary, a one-time Penn State football assistant who became the star witness in the case against Sandusky, told state police in 2011 that he'd visited Paterno on a Saturday morning 10 years earlier to tell him that the previous evening he had witnessed "an extreme sexual act occurring between Sandusky and a young boy" in a football locker room shower, according to the report by Pennsylvania police.

"Paterno, upon hearing the news, sat back in his chair with a dejected look on his face," the report states, adding that McQueary "said Paterno's eyes appeared to well up with tears."

"Then he made the comment to McQueary this was the second complaint of this nature he had received about Sandusky," the report states, citing McQueary's recollection.

Sandusky’s sexual assaults of adolescent males eventually led to an effective life sentence for Sandusky, along with unusual NCAA sanctions (later revoked) against the school and three former PSU admins being sentenced for child endangerment.

Sandusky coached on Paterno’s staff from 1969 through 1999.

Paterno died in January 2012.

In 2016, a court order was made public that claimed Paterno knew of Sandusky's behavior as far back as 1976.

It regards a legal battle between Penn State and insurance companies over who's ultimately responsible for $60 million in settlements to Sandusky's victims. The insurers sought to avoid reimbursing money to PSU.

A single line by the insurance company referenced Paterno's knowledge of Sandusky's abuse.

The line in question states that one of Penn State's insurers has claimed "in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky."

In 2014 testimony revealed at the same time, one of Sandusky's victims claimed he reported the coach's abuse to Paterno. According to the victim, Paterno responded: "I don't want to hear any of that stuff," saying he had a football season to "worry about."

Paterno had been accused in the university's failure to stop Sandusky before, most notably in the Freeh Report, a law firm's 2012 investigation headed by a former FBI director and commissioned by Penn State. But that concerned allegations of abuse that began in the late 1990s. It based most of its conclusions on PSU's failure in response to a specific allegation brought by McQueary in Feb. 2001.