Source: Mike McQueary halted assault

Updated: November 16, 2011, 2:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A source familiar with the state investigation of child sexual-assault allegations against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky tells ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that Mike McQueary stopped Sandusky's alleged rape of a boy as young as 10 years old that McQueary witnessed in 2002.

The source characterized McQueary, a key witness in the case, as "credible" and "consistent" in describing the events of the alleged attack at a shower at the Penn State practice facility to investigators.

McQueary, a Penn State wide receivers coach who was placed on administrative leave Friday, also told a friend in an email that he stopped the alleged rape and discussed it with police.

In the email, first obtained and reported Tuesday by The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., McQueary said he "did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police" after the alleged incident.

In the email, dated Nov. 8, McQueary said, "I did stop it, not physically, but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room," The Morning Call reported.

McQueary declined to be interviewed, and a message to his lawyer was not returned, the newspaper reported. State College police did not return a call seeking comment, according to the report.

Wednesday, in a brief off-camera meeting with ESPN's Lisa Salters, McQueary again said he wouldn't comment. When Salters said that people were looking to hear from him, McQueary said: "I understand -- I just can't right now."

In a brief interview with CBS News on Tuesday, McQueary said little.

"This process has to play out. I just don't have anything else to say," he said. Asked about his emotional state in the past week, he said: "All over the place. Just kind of ... shaken."

The former Penn State quarterback has faced immense criticism for not calling police, interrupting the alleged assault or, in the nine years since he was an eyewitness, demanding answers about why Sandusky was never charged.

Sandusky has been charged with molesting eight boys in 15 years, with some of the alleged abuse taking place at the Penn State football complex. He maintains his innocence and made his case in a national television interview Monday night on NBC.

Sources say the case "has generated multiple leads" and "information from the public" that has required state police to commit additional investigative resources.

In the email, McQueary wrote he "is getting hammered for handling this the right way or what I thought at the time was right," The Morning Call reported.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reported that McQueary is consulting with a Harrisburg law firm that specializes in employment issues to represent him in the ongoing investigation.

McQueary testified in a grand jury investigation that eventually led to child sex-abuse charges being filed against Sandusky. The ensuing scandal brought down longtime coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by university trustees Nov. 9 amid growing criticism that he should have done more to stop the alleged abuse. University president Graham Spanier was also dismissed.

McQueary testified that after witnessing the alleged assault, he left the building, called his father and the next day told Paterno what he saw.

McQueary, who was a graduate assistant at the time of the alleged assault, was placed on administrative leave one day after the school said he had received threats. He was not with the team for Saturday's loss to Nebraska.

In another email reported by NBC News on Monday night, McQueary told friends that he did the right thing.

"I didn't just turn and run ... I made sure it stopped ... I had to make quick tough decisions," he said in the email, according to the report.

In an interview with ABC News, Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, explained why he let Sandusky go on national TV to discuss the allegations.

"I think it's important, regardless of what people's mindset ... for people to hear Jerry Sandusky say, 'I did not sexually assault kids. I love kids. They're my life. That's why I created The Second Mile.' And I think people need to hear that from him," Amendola said.

Attorney Ben Andreozzi, who says he represents one of Sandusky's alleged victims, was critical of the decision to let the former coach speak on TV.

"I am appalled by the fact that Mr. Sandusky has elected to re-victimize these young men at a time when they should be healing," Andreozzi said in a statement. "My client wants Mr. Sandusky to know that he fully intends to testify that he was severely sexually assaulted by Mr. Sandusky.

"I have my finger on the pulse of this case. I don't know of any existing assault victims changing their story or refusing to testify. To the contrary, others are actually coming forward, and I will have more information for you later this week."

Meanwhile, preliminary hearings for Curley and Schultz were postponed Tuesday after state prosecutors requested a delay.

Curley and Schultz have been charged with failing to report the incident to the authorities. Curley, who has taken a leave of absence, and Schultz, who has stepped down, both have said they are innocent.

Paterno notified Curley and Schultz about the 2002 abuse charge and is not a target of the criminal investigation.

Attorneys Caroline Roberto and Tom Farrell said in a statement: "It's hard to imagine that after conducting a three-year investigation, and with what we believe is only one witness, Mike McQueary, to prepare to testify at the preliminary hearing, the Attorney General claims they aren't available."

The statement added: "Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz are anxious to face their accusers, clear their good names and go on with their lives."

The case apparently took on new urgency three years ago, when a woman went to officials at her local school district and said that Sandusky had sexually assaulted her son. School district officials banned him from school grounds and contacted police, leading to an investigation by state police, the attorney general's office and the grand jury.

Gov. Tom Corbett took the case on a referral from the Centre County district attorney, Michael Madeira, in early 2009 while he was serving as attorney general.

Madeira told ESPN's Paula Lavigne that he didn't know about the Sandusky case until March 2009, when it was brought to him. He said he was unaware that his predecessor, Ray Gricar, did not press charges in 1998. He also said he was unaware of the 2002 incident.

He referred the case to the attorney general's office because of a conflict of interest "related to a personal connection I had with the Sandusky family." He said he had only met Jerry Sandusky three or four times.

"I knew of him more than knowing him well," Madeira said.

Tuesday, Madeira told The Associated Press that his conflict of interest was that fact that his wife's brother is Sandusky's adopted son.

Madeira had not previously spoken about the case, but said he didn't want to paint Penn State with a broad brush. "There are a lot of honorable people who serve at Penn State and have various jobs at Penn State," he said. "As we've seen, it takes the actions of one person to bring that down."

Corbett bristled Tuesday when asked whether it was fair for people to criticize the pace of the probe.

"People that are saying that are ill-informed as to how investigations are conducted, how witnesses are developed, how backup information, corroborative information is developed, and they really don't know what they're talking about," he told reporters.

The attorney general's office declined to comment on the pace of the investigation.

The Patriot-News reported Monday that only one trooper was assigned to the case after the state took it over in 2009. It wasn't until Corbett became governor early this year that his former investigations supervisor in the attorney general's office, Frank Noonan, became state police commissioner and put seven more investigators on it, the newspaper said.

Noonan's spokeswoman, Maria Finn, said Tuesday that manpower was increased in the case this year, but she could not confirm the numbers reported by the newspaper.

"The investigation, at the time, was gaining momentum," Finn said. "There were more leads, there were more things to do at that point. It's not that the state police weren't doing anything and Noonan comes in and changes things."

Sandusky's next court date is Dec. 7, when he is due for a preliminary hearing in which a judge would determine if there's enough evidence for prosecutors to move forward with the case.

Information from ESPN reporters Tom Rinaldi and Paula Lavigne and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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