A former assistant football coach and key prosecution witness in the upcoming conspiracy trial of three former Penn State leaders accused of covering up Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse crimes told his players during a November 2011 closed-door meeting that he, too, was sexually abused as a boy, sources told ESPN The Magazine.
Mike McQueary confided to a dozen Nittany Lions players that he could relate to the helplessness of the young boy he had seen with Sandusky in a campus shower a decade earlier because he was abused as a boy, according to two players who attended the meeting and four others with knowledge of it. McQueary did not tell the players who had abused him or when or how long the abuse had occurred, the sources said.
McQueary's meeting with Penn State receivers was held on Nov. 9, 2011, just days after prosecutors revealed, in a 23-page presentment, that McQueary had seen Sandusky and a young boy engaged in "anal intercourse" in the Lasch Football Building on campus a decade earlier.
The revelation is included in a profile of McQueary published in the upcoming edition of ESPN The Magazine.
McQueary, 39, declined to comment for the magazine story, except to say that he still reveres his mentor, former coach Joe Paterno, who was fired that day in November 2011 and died in January 2012 at the age of 85.
"I love that man more than you can ever possibly say," McQueary told The Mag. "He's an unbelievable man. He did unbelievable things. He handled this thing in the best way he could. Was it foolproof or perfect? No. But I didn't handle this in a foolproof or perfect way either. I am loyal to him to this day. I absolutely love him."
Although he hasn't confirmed it outside the locker-room meeting, McQueary told players he was a victim of abuse at a time when his decision to leave the locker room without stopping Sandusky was being criticized in State College and beyond, including by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
"It made it even more personal for him," one of the players said.
Prosecutors are expected to call McQueary to testify later this year at the criminal trial of former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz, who are charged with crimes ranging from conspiracy to failure to report suspected abuse. If convicted, each would face a maximum of 39 years in prison.
All three have pleaded not guilty and say they did not hear from McQueary, either directly or indirectly, in 2001 that he had seen Sandusky sexually assault a boy in the shower.
Meanwhile, McQueary has filed a $4 million whistleblower lawsuit against Penn State for expected lost wages after his contract wasn't renewed in the summer of 2012. In his complaint, McQueary says he suffered "irreparable harm to his ability to earn a living" because Penn State discriminated against him for providing truthful testimony in the Sandusky case and at the preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz and because he'll be a key prosecution witness at the trial of Spanier, Curley and Schultz.