Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary was awarded $7.3 million in damages stemming from his role in the Jerry Sandusky chid sex abuse scandal. A jury found that Penn State defamed McQueary following his testimony, which helped prosecutors bring charges against Sandusky, became public in 2011.
Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for the molestation of 10 boys while he was in charge of his foundation, The Second Mile.
Following four hours of deliberation, the Centre County jury found administrators at Penn State lied to McQueary after they promised to act on his 2001 report of seeing Sandusky in the shower with a young boy. The jury also found that, after the lying, the university damaged the reputation of McQueary after Sandusky was arrested nearly a decade later.
Former university administrators Graham Spanier (president), Tim Curley (athletic director) and Gary Schultz (vice president) were found to have be the key cogs in defaming and lying to McQueary. The jurors found Spanier defamed McQueary in a letter sticking up for both Curley and Schultz in a statements he made following the arrest of Sandusky.
Curley and Schultz were found by jurors to have lied to McQueary following the then-graduate assistant telling the administrators what he saw in the shower and the administrators telling McQueary they would take care of it.
Prior to the verdict, McQueary had been seeking $4 million in lost wages and damages as a result of being unable to find a coaching position since not being retained by former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien. McQueary was awarded $1.15 million for defamation and another $1.15 million for the misrepresentations by Curley and Schultz. The former assistant coach was also awarded $5 million in punitive damages.
More money might be coming McQueary’s way in the future as Judge Thomas Gavin will be ruling on McQueary’s whistle-blower claim that he was fired from his $104,000-per-year coaching position for speaking out against Sandusky and other school officials. Judge Gavin’s ruling is expected in the coming weeks.
In the past four years, Penn State has settled claims with 32 Sandusky accusers totaling $93 million in settlements.
Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press