Former Penn State coach Mike McQueary formally changed his story, details about the seminal shower moment in the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State-child sex abuse case and in the process, perhaps alters the landscape of the trial.
Sandusky is still headed to prison. Let’s get that out of the way first and foremost because as McQueary has turned from tragic hero to tragic dunce, what the ex-Nittany Lions defensive coordinator did to multiple children is much more abominable.
There are a multitude of charges, of children’s innocence lost, of therapy needed that when presented to a jury will send Sandusky to jail for the remainder of his life.
But Mike McQueary, the man who testified to have walked in on a sexual assault in a Penn State facility shower (in March 2002), realized he had his dates mixed up and the incident actually happened thirteen months earlier (February 9, 2001) than he’d remembered.
As a result, former Executive Vice President Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley might see their charges for failure to report a child sex abuse crime tossed (unclear on the statute of limitations here), but still face a perjury trial (42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5552 (b) says the statute of limitations for commencing prosecution is five years).
Again, one feels like they have to draw attention back to the focus of the case when deriding its participants. Schultz and Curley, like Joe Paterno before them, didn’t do enough, allowed Sandusky to roam the Penn State campus after this episode occurred and generally acted in, for a moment of indecision, a morally reprehensible manner. They could have gone directly to the police and stopped him forever.
But they didn’t and coupled with the time that’s passed, McQueary’s new dates and the letter of the law, Schultz and Curley may actually benefit.
And once the trial begins and McQueary takes the stand, defense attorneys will attempt to decimate his memory. He’s the star witness for the prosecution and modifying his official testimony makes him look unsure. Will McQueary break under the pressure of cross-examination?
Sandusky’s counsel, Joe Amendola is already a shark, lurking in the water:
“I don’t know if it’s a lie as opposed to faulty memory, and if it’s faulty memory, what else has he misremembered?” Amendola said.