Anthony Sassano, with the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, testified Wednesday, the third day of trial in former assistant football coach Mike McQueary's whistleblower and defamation lawsuit against Penn State. Conrad framed multiple questions around whether Spanier issued the statement with malice, harm, reckless disregard for the truth and other elements that would constitute McQueary's defamation claim. He claims school officials treated him unfairly after his name was outed from a grand jury presentment.
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier took the stand and was presented with email evidence that he had been notified of the 1998 incident, but denied he had ever seen the email. Wilson, a graduate assistant at Penn State during McQueary's freshman year in 1992, testified about his desire to hire McQueary for an assistant coach position in 2013, when Wilson had become head coach of Savannah State. They were charged with perjury and failure to properly report suspected child abuse. He says Spanier made him look like a liar.
"I believed then that there was something wrong with the presentment", Spanier testified Thursday. "It did not sound credible to me".
Attorneys returned to the statement Spanier issued November 5, 2011, and he described drafting the statement as well as the help he received in writing it by staff members Lisa Powers and Bill Mahon - both of whom testified Tuesday about their role in crafting the statement.
He's describing how he reported the event to then-head coach Joe Paterno and two administrators who were later charged with crimes for their response after hearing McQueary's story.
"It was an unbelievable injustice that these two guys who were like boy scouts would be charged with a crime". "And that's what was in my head as I was giving this opinion".
That same day Spanier - who would not be charged until a year later - issued a statement that expressed his confidence in how they handled allegations about Sandusky and that "the record will show these charges are groundless". He maintains he only skimmed the grand jury report that Saturday, and it wasn't until Sunday he was able to digest all of it. "And with my belief that after working daily with these individuals for about 16 years, and knowing their honesty, their integrity, believing that they never withheld information from me, and recollecting rather clearly that meeting from 2001. and what they described to me at the time, that it merited my unconditional support".
"It was a great injustice they were being charged at all".
Spanier recounted the infamous 2001 emails between he, Curley, and Schultz, which were published in the Freeh Report in 2012. He testified Thursday to having limited recollection of any specifics from the emails.
Spanier also testified regarding an email exchange between himself, Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley dated February 2001.
Sassano said he counseled McQueary against making a public statement in the aftermath of the arrests, even though McQueary expressed dismay that he was being heavily criticized.
Spanier was copied at the end of a chain of emails in 1998, in which Schultz said the investigation was completed and the matter closed.
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Testimony revealed the Penn State athletic department was flooded with emails and phone calls.
He had, Wilson noted, spent a career building a network, something Penn State has argued McQueary failed to do by spending his whole career as a player and coach at Penn State.
- John McQueary, Mike McQueary's father, testified about the night of February 9, 2001, when his son saw Sandusky and the boy in the shower.
Wilson said his athletic director explained that the school's new president apparently was anxious that the press would focus on McQueary more than the head coach himself. The younger McQueary told him that Sandusky was behind the boy in the shower and that when McQueary had entered the locker room he "could hear rhythmic, or slapping sounds".
McQueary that night, in a shaken state, discussed the incident with his father and a family friend, Dr. Jonathan Dranov, and they told him to report it to his boss, Joe Paterno, which he did the next day.
"Gary, this is big".
"John, we've heard noise about this before, about the same coach". Every time we've come up empty.
Joyner said McQueary's case didn't precisely fit the terms of that agreement, but he made a decision to honor it because he "thought it was the fair thing to do". "My son saw it".
"We're going to look into it", Schultz reportedly responded.
McQueary was pressed by Penn State's top lawyer, Nancy Conrad, who focused on their main defense that McQueary had a moral obligation to do more to stop Jerry Sandusky when he had the chance, and that all of his future ails relate back to that incident. He said he had not known it occurred in the Lasch Building either. In fact, he said, Curley and Schultz in 2001 had only identified the person as an athletic department staff member.
"And when he called you and told you what he saw, did you tell him to call university police?"
The first week of witness testimony wraps up Friday in the civil trial which is expected to last more than two weeks.