Former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Michael J. McQueary on Tuesday filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the university claiming unfair termination, defamation and misrepresentation in connection with the child sexual abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Gerald A. Sandusky.
Mr. McQueary alleged that Penn State terminated his employment as assistant football coach earning a base salary of $140,400 because of his cooperation with Pennsylvania Attorney General investigators. Mr. McQueary testified he observed Mr. Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in a Penn State shower facility and reported the incident to school officials in 2002, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Sandusky in June was found guilty of 45 of 48 child sexual abuse counts involving 10 victims over 18 years, often on Penn State property.
Unfair action also was allegedly taken against Mr. McQueary because he is expected to be a key prosecution witness at the criminal trials of former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice President of Finance Gary Schultz, according to the suit, which was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Centre County, Pa.
Messrs. Schultz and Curley were charged with perjury and failure to report in connection to the Sandusky case. Both stepped down from their positions after the grand jury's report in November 2011. Their perjury case is set to begin Jan. 7.
Mr. McQueary also alleged that Penn State did not offer to reimburse counsel fees incurred during the grand jury investigation, said he was misled by school officials as to how Penn State would handle the Sandusky matter, and was publically humiliated for testifying that school officials did not report the abuse.
Statements by school officials “have irreparably harmed the plaintiff's reputation for honesty and integrity, and have irreparably harmed the plaintiff's ability to earn a living, especially in his chosen profession of coaching football,” according to the lawsuit.
Mr. McQueary is seeking $8 million in lost future earnings, among other damages.
Penn State declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The embattled university faces complex civil lawsuits, compounded by an independent investigation that concluded that top officials at the school did nothing to investigate child sexual abuse allegations, which is likely to make it more difficult and costly to reach settlements of the cases, experts say.
As of February, the university has spent $7,577,643 in legal fees and to consulting and public relations firms as it addresses the fallout from the Sandusky scandal, according to Penn State's website.