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October 1, 2012

Did Mike McQueary Commit Perjury?

By Walter Uhler

There's a material difference in Mike McQueary's sworn testimony before his email of November 15, 2011 was published and after it was published. The difference might constitute perjury.


On 12 June 2012, defense attorney Karl Rominger conducted a devastating cross examination of Mike McQueary in the course of attempting to defend the indefensible Jerry Sandusky. The actual transcript of that cross examination was not released until 21 September 2012, which explains why virtually nobody, except Barry Bozeman (See http://www.notpsu.blogspot.com/ ), has written about the deliberate deception Rominger exposed.

Mr. McQueary was the graduate assistant at Penn State who, according to the 4 November 2011 grand jury presentment, "saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky" on 9 February 2001.

But, in fact, McQueary "saw" no such thing. How do we know? First, because McQueary's actual testimony to the grand jury reads: "I'm pretty sure he was sodomizing him, I'm relatively sure," Second, because McQueary later testified under oath that he never saw insertion, never saw an erection, never heard any protest, screams, shouts or cries by the boy and never witnessed any agitation or distress on the part of the victim.

McQueary envisioned sodomy and testified to being "relatively sure" of sodomy, because: (1) he heard three "skin-on-skin smacking sounds" upon entering the hallway leading to the locker room and (2) he subsequently saw Sandusky positioned behind the boy, with his arms wrapped around the boy.

Whether sodomy actually occurred is anybody's guess. But, nobody should doubt that Attorney General Linda Kelley authorized the release of a grand jury report containing the inflammatory lie that McQueary actually "saw" anal intercourse. That lie sent a shocked nation reeling.

Nevertheless, on 16 December 2011 McQueary testified that he believed Sandusky committed a crime on the night of 9 February 2001[p. 89]. But, instead of immediately reporting that crime to police, he consulted his father, John, and Dr. Jonathon Dranov.

Significantly, McQueary failed to tell them that a crime had been committed. Moreover, he repeatedly refused to answer questions by Dranov about what he saw. Unsure whether a crime had been committed, both John and Jonathon recommended that Mike report what he saw to Penn State Coach Joe Paterno the next morning.

Thanks to Rominger's cross examination, we now know that McQueary told the grand jury he reported "exactly" what he saw to Paterno, leaving out no details. [12 June 2012, p.289] However, that testimony must be false, if only because McQueary failed to include the detail concerning his belief that sodomy occurred. And although he claims not to remember telling Paterno that a crime occurred, McQueary had already left that small detail out of his conversation with his father and Dr. Dranov.

McQueary testified he told Paterno about: (1) the "rough positioning" of Sandusky and the boy, (2) the "extremely sexual" nature of Sandusky's actions and (3) the "fondling" that Sandusky engaged in. Paterno testified to being told about something sexual and fondling. (Note: Curley's attorney questioned how McQueary could possibly see fondling, if Sandusky's arms were, indeed, wrapped around the boy.)

Two questions: Why would McQueary tell Paterno exactly what he saw after refusing to tell Dr. Dranov anything that he saw? Why did McQueary wait almost ten years before telling anyone that he believed Sandusky committed the crime of sodomizing a young boy? Was it because the prospect of talking to investigators placed him under duress?

Beyond his failure to report a crime and his contradictory testimony about whether he, indeed, reported every detail to Paterno, there's also the more understandable problem of McQueary's faulty memory. He got the day, month and year of Sandusky's assault wrong, probably because he was certain -- until proven wrong -- that the assault occurred on the Friday evening before spring break. Ten years is a long time to keep memories fresh in anyone's mind.

Normally, the information provided above might cause people to question McQueary's credibility as a witness. But, up to now, it has not. The grand jury, most members of the news media, most members of Penn State's board of trustees, most Americans, the Special Investigative Counsel that issued the Freeh Report, as well as the NCAA continue to believe McQueary, and not the Penn State officials previously known to be honorable and previously held in high esteem.

But, until now, nobody but state officials knew precisely what McQueary told investigators, the office of the Attorney General and the grand jury in late 2010. But, thanks to Rominger's devastating cross examination, much of that information is now public.

Thanks to Rominger's cross examination, we now know that McQueary's testimony in 2010 differs materially from the testimony that he gave in December 2011 and June 2012.

During testimony on 16 December 2011 and during testimony on 12 June 2012 McQueary claimed that, upon entering the locker room, he glanced at Sandusky and the young boy three times. The first glance, lasting only a second or two, was through a mirror that provided a 45 degree angle view into the shower. The second glance, again lasting only a second or two, was directly into the shower.

The third glance lasted longer, but it was taken only after McQueary slammed the door to his locker. As he testified on 12 June: "I made the loud noise in an attempt, I think, to say, "Okay. Someone is here. Break it up. Please.'" When he then took that third glance, he saw Sandusky and the boy standing a few feet apart.

McQueary's testimony, however, did not withstand cross-examination. First, Rominger showed McQueary the notes written in late 2010 by Trooper Scott Rossman, the first person to interrogate him. Trooper Rossman's notes state that McQueary mentioned only two glances. [June 12, p. 230]

Second, Rominger reminded McQueary about the written statement he had given to the Office of the Attorney General in 2010. It mentions only two glances. [Ibid. p. 232]

Third, after prodding by Mr. Rominger, Mr. McQueary agreed that his grand jury testimony mentioned only two glances. [Ibid. p. 233]

After establishing that McQueary told the grand jury that he took two glances, not three, Rominger quoted McQueary's testimony about that second glance from page 9 of the grand jury transcript: "I looked into that shower again and the young boy saw me. He was again in that position, but kind of -- I think he knew someone had come into the locker room. He saw me, kind of looking over his shoulder and saw me." [Ibid. p. 273]

According to that same transcript Mr. McQueary then told the grand jury: "I walked out, directly out, as fast as I could, to be honest with you, when they were still in that position and he was turned." [Ibid. p. 276]

According to that transcript, McQueary also explained why he walked out, rather than doing anything to stop the molestation: "I was nervous and flustered, so I just didn't do anything to stop it." [Ibid. p. 285] Wow!

Here's where we are: If we believe: (1) what McQueary told Trooper Rossman, (2) what he put in his written statement and (3) what he testified to the grand jury, then we must conclude that McQueary took only two, not three, glances into the shower and fled the scene after that second glance.

Thus, there was no slamming of the locker door and there was no separation of Sandusky from the boy. Sandusky and the boy did not turn around and they did not look directly into McQueary's eyes. In fact, as Rominger noted during his cross examination, the actual transcript of McQueary's grand jury testimony contains no mention of slamming a locker door.

Looking at the evidence, we see that, on three occasions in late 2010, McQueary testified to taking only two glances into the shower and to fleeing the scene without making any effort to stop Sandusky. But, on 16 December 2011 and on 12 June 2012, McQueary testified that he took three glances, slammed the locker door after the second glance and then saw Sandusky and the boy separated on his third glance.

Why the change in testimony? Undoubtedly, he changed his testimony because he had been under withering criticism from people who suspected that he did nothing to stop Sandusky from raping the young boy.

Evidence of such criticism can be found in an email written by McQueary and published on 15 November 2011 by the Associated Press. In the email, McQueary claimed he "was being hammered for handling this the right way."

But, in that very same email, McQueary emphasized: "I did stop it, not physically"but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room""

Consider this timeline: Up until his 15 November 2011 email about being hammered, McQueary's sworn testimony mentioned only two glances into the shower. After his 15 November 2011 email about being hammered, McQueary's sworn testimony mentions three glances.

The timeline suggests motive. But, did public pressure motivate McQueary to suddenly remember that he had taken action to stop Sandusky, notwithstanding what he previously said under oath to the grand jury? Or did public pressure motivate McQueary to lie in his email and then embellish that lie -- during sworn testimony on 16 December 2011 and 12 June 2012 -- with supporting lies under oath about slamming a locker door and taking of a third glance into the locker room?

Dictionary.com defines perjury as, "the willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry."

Americans should decide whether Mike McQueary committed perjury. But, after they decide, they also should make their decision known to the Attorney General. members of the news media, members of Penn State's board of trustees, other Americans, the Special Investigative Counsel that issued the Freeh Report and the NCAA.

Submitters Bio:

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).