Friday, December 16, 2011

A Break in the Action

After three hours of testimony, almost two from state's star witness - Mike McQueary - the prosecution rested it's prima facie case to hold former Penn Staters Tim Curley and Gary Schultz for trial on perjury charges.

McQueary presented himself forthrightly and definitively about what he saw the night of March 1, 2002, Jerry Sandusky in the shower, with the boy. The running shower water, and rhythmic slapping noises he heard upon entering the locker room that night alerted him immediately that something very wrong. He said he started to visualize in his head what was going on before he actually saw it.

He essentially repeated, though not word for word, what the grand jury reported he said he saw: A boy with with his hands up against the shower wall, Jerry Sandusky standing behind and bumping up against him. He presumed the boy was being penetrated but could actually see if that was happening.

McQueary was less definitive about how he described what he saw to Coach Joe Paterno and others the next morning but said he left the indelible impression that what he saw was "extremely sexual" "that it was wrong and over the line."

But he never used the terms "anal intercourse," "sexual assault," or "rape" or even the word "crime" to describe what he saw. And never would have with Joe Paterno "out of respect" for the old coach.

McQueary freely admitted to doing "nothing" to rescue the boy and hurriedly leaving the locker room after seeing the two had uncoupled.

He said he established eye contact with both the boy, who he couldn't describe, and Sandusky, who maintained a "blank" expression on his face. He was after all shocked and traumatized.

His father, John McQueary, testified that his son, who is 6-four-and a quarter, called him and in a "quivering and scared" voice told him he witnessed something inappropriate between Sandusky and a boy in the shower.

Efforts by defense attorneys to shake him off his story and to find inconsistencies in it, bore little fruit. McQueary seemed not the least bit embarrassed by his own behavior in not confronting Sandusky and leaving the kid with him. In his testimony that by the time he left the locker room the "extremely sexual" "wrong and over the line" behavior had been completed. There was nothing more for him to do other than leave and figure out who to tell.

Because this was a preliminary hearing, defense attorneys were not allowed to fully explore the grand jury testimony of the McQueary family friend, Dr. Jonathan Dranov, who was called to the McQueary house the night of the incident.

According to published reports, Dranov, his fathers' friend and boss, has given a very different account of what McQueary claimed to him to have seen in the locker room that night.

Prosecutors introduced the grand jury testimony of Curley, Schultz and Joe Paterno. The judge recessed to read the testimony that is allegedly in conflict. That testimony will be read into the record this afternoon.

Unless I'm mistaken, the state has met its burden and produced enough evidence to take this case to trial. But it's a lot less clear prosecutors will be able to prevail in their claim that Curley and Schultz outright lied about what McQueary told him, especially when Dr. Dranov is forced to testify.


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