Mike McQueary: Sex-abuse witness under scrutiny

Assistant coach Mike McQueary of the Penn State Nittany Lions walks the sidelines against the Syracuse Orangemen during the second half at Beaver Stadium September 12, 2009 in State College, Pennsylvania. Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Assistant coach Mike McQueary of the Penn State Nittany Lions walks the sidelines against the Syracuse Orangemen during the second half at Beaver Stadium September 12, 2009 in State College, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

A legendary head coach and longtime president have been fired. The athletic director and vice president face perjury charges.

But none of those high-profile figures at Penn State ever witnessed the alleged sex abuse committed by former coach Jerry Sandusky. In fact, according to investigators, only two people did: One was a janitor. The other was former graduate assistant Mike McQueary.

McQueary, who is now the wide receivers coach, has so far kept his job - and according to interim coach Tom Bradley, he'll be coaching this Saturday when the Nittany Lions take on Nebraska. Through it all, McQueary has remained silent.

"It's not that he's not willing," his father, John J. McQueary, told the New York Times. "I think it's eating him up not to be able to tell his side, but he's under investigation by the grand jury. He'll make it. He's a tough kid."

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Whether McQueary should keep his job is certainly debatable. But more bewildering his why, after saying he witnessed Sandusky assault a young boy in the Penn State showers in 2002, did he not stop the alleged abuse, let alone call the police.

Instead, McQueary, who was 28 at the time, called his father, who went to Paterno and reported the incident. Paterno notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and a vice president, Gary Schultz, who in turn notified president Graham Spanier.

The rest is history. Painful history for a community known as Happy Valley.

Since history cannot be undone and we don't know why McQueary didn't take stronger action after witnessing such a heinous crime, we are left with only one other question: Why is he still on the coaching staff?

CBSSports.com columnist Gregg Doyel has two theories - one is that McQueary has immunity as a whistleblower (even if his whistle was barely audible). The other theory is that the Pennsylvania attorney general's office doesn't want to lose McQueary as a cooperative witness and has asked the school not to alienate the assistant coach by firing him.

No one knows because McQueary remains silent. But Doyel is blunt in his assessment, saying the idea that McQueary will be coaching on Saturday is "unsightly to the eyes, inappropriate to common decency, (and) disrespectful to Sandusky's alleged victims."

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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