Sunday, January 20

House of Cards Rests on McQueary's Faulty Memory

The perjury and conspiracy charges against PSU officials depend on what Mike McQueary SAID, and not what he saw.  And the preliminary hearing transcripts prove he doesn't remember WHAT he said or, perhaps more importantly, WHO he told.

Ray Blehar

In the perjury case of Gary Schulz and Tim Curley, it's not what Mike McQueary saw that is in question.  It is what Mike McQueary said he saw.  And based on the preliminary hearing transcripts, he's not so sure what he said and who he told.

At the preliminary perjury hearing for Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, prosecutor Bruce Beemer's first question about what McQueary told the two men was met with a very solid answer.  

Mike firmly answered (with his rehearsed response),  it was "I told them I saw Jerry in the showers with a young boy and that what I had seen was extremely sexual and over the lines and wrong."

His testimony went south after that.

If you're going to press perjury charges and you don't have a corroborating witness, your witness better be rock solid certain of what he said.....and McQueary is anything but rock solid.

What He Said, Part 1

Almost everything McQueary said after that first answer was qualified in by using the words "I would" or "I would not" or similar phrasing that is not definitive.  Experts call it a verbal tic, signaling McQueary was less certain about his testimony. Here are some examples...

Q: Did you describe....the body positioning of the individuals in the shower?
A: I would have given them a rough idea, yes.

Q: When you say a rough idea?
A:  I would have said that Jerry was in there in very close proximity to a young boy with his arms wrapped around him.

Q: Would you have described for them what you believed the act was that you saw occurring in that shower?
A:  Yes.  Again, I would not have used some of the words you previously mentioned but I would have described that it was extremely sexual and that some kind of intercourse was going on.

The examples above were under "friendly" examination by the state's prosecutor.  When McQueary responded under cross examination, it was more of the same, except that he began experiencing memory loss.

Q:  When you met with Mr. Curley, did you say I believe he was having anal intercourse with this boy?
A:   I would not have used the words anal intercourse.  I would have said extremely sexual act and I think it was intercourse.

Q:  Okay. And when you got to this portion of the description did Mr. Curley say anything to you?  Did he follow up asking questions?
A:   I can't recall.  I can't recall that, no ma'am.

Q:  Did he -- do you recall any instructions that he gave you?
A:   No -- only that, what I do recall and what he did do...

Q:  So during this very descriptive statement of yours to Mr. Curley about sex -- a possible sex act in the shower, Mr. Curley didn't -- you don't recall Mr. Curley asking you any questions or stopping and clarifying anything that you were telling him?
A:  I'm not saying he didn't, but I can't recall those questions or if he did ask questions.

Q: But you can recall specifically what you told him?
A: Yes, I can recall what I would have said about what I saw, yes, ma'am.

It is hard to believe that Caroline Roberto, who questioned McQueary, didn't attempt to make Mike be more specific and clarify his qualified statements.  But, maybe that was part of the strategy to get Mike's uncertain testimony on the record.

What He Said, Part 2

I don't know about you, but the words "extremely sexual" and "extreme sex act" were not words I used before this scandal broke.  Chances are, Mike never used them either until he and his father met with the lawyers in the attorney general's office.

John McQueary testified that Mike would have never used the words "horsing around."  He related "That's an archaic term that my dad would have said to me.  I don't think I would have used it, and I haven't used it, and I don't think Mike knows it."

Jeepers H. Christmas!  John McQueary doesn't think Mike knows the term horsing around?  Joe Paterno used that term quite frequently.  It's a very common term, but apparently not in the McQueary household.

"Horsing around" -- not used or known by Mike.

"Extremely sexual" -- used quite frequently by Mike.

Conversations around the McQueary household must have been pretty interesting.  For example:

John M:  Mike, your mom's birthday is coming up.  Don't get her anything for the house, go out and buy her something extremely sexual.

Mike M: I know exactly what you mean, Dad.  I saw some extremely sexual bathrobes at WalMart yesterday.

Mrs. M:  Mike, I just finished frying some eggs and they look extremely sexual -- would you like some?

For John McQueary to posit that Mike wouldn't have told Curley and Schultz it was "horsing around" because its a term Mike wouldn't know is preposterous.  And, the AG's choice of the words to describe the incident --  "extremely sexual" -- is equally preposterous.

It's one thing to have McQueary lie about what he told Curley and Schultz, but if you're going to have McQueary lie, at least have him use some words that are believable.

Who He Told, Part 1

McQueary experienced some memory loss when asked about what he said.  However, that paled in comparison to his memory loss when asked who he told.

From page 62 of the Preliminary Perjury transcript:

Q:  You have gone through with Mr. Beemer all of the people that you confronted and told about the incident.  Did you ever that night confront Mr. Sandusky with what you saw.
A:  No, Never.

McQueary's non-answer to the first part infers that he agreed he had discussed, at the hearing, all of the people he told about the incident.  However, it is well documented (in two cases) that he did tell others about Sandusky showering with a child.  And though this has not been reported in the press, those who played in Second Mile golf tournaments stated there were rumors of Sandusky "horsing around" with boys in the showers.

First, there was the person who reported his message board chat to the Centre County DA.  And there would be other people -- including Mike's brother - who were in the chat as well.

Next, McQueary told an equipment manager about the incident.  There is a footnote on page 88 of the Freeh Report stating: "According to Baldwin's notes, the manager advised her that McQueary had told him "that [McQueary] saw something that changed his life. [McQueary] had to tell Coach Paterno."

Finally, there were rumors at The Second Mile golf tournament during the last decade, that Sandusky was "horsing around" in showers with little boys.  Given the number of coaches and former players who play in the golf tournaments, it's possible that McQueary told others on the coaching staff and former players about what he witnessed.

Who He Told, Part 2

During the time of this scandal the only "witnesses" called to testify about McQueary's testimony were:  Joe Paterno, Jonathon Dranov, John McQueary, Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz.   And none of the witnesses corroborate McQueary's account of reporting a sexual act -- except John McQueary -- who couldn't even remember testifying at the preliminary hearing.

However, it's clear that there were other people McQueary told, so why haven't they been identified and called as witnesses?

The most likely reason, as it was in the case of Victim 2, is that the other witnesses don't corroborate or, more likely, contradict McQueary's story.

It is likely that the chatters, the equipment manager, and the former players (that Mike told about the incident)  would testify to an account similar to Dr. Dranov's -- that McQueary only heard sounds, the incident happened around a corner, and that Mike saw Sandusky and a child exit the shower.

Where are these witnesses and why haven't we heard from them?

Are they not coming forward for fear of losing their jobs and/or business deals with PSU?


  1. Ray, I only disagree on one point, your statement about John McQueary. It was not that he had "forgotten testifying", it was that he gave either his GJ or C-s prelim testimony at a different LOCATION. The attorney is the one who messed up asking the wrong question and the judge told him to quit before making the witness even more confused.

  2. RE the above: it was the MEDIA again who messed that part of it up. Let's not give them any credit for yet another false narrative, they have done enough damage already :-)

  3. N R,
    Have you read the transcripts? John McQ testified at trial that he had NEVER been to the Dauphin County courthouse to testify at the preliminary hearing. It's right on page 25. He says he testified at the grand jury, but NOT at a preliminary hearing.

    You can't blame this one on the media.

    1. Yes, Ray, I have read it several times, and I can see clearly what transpired from the entire context, not just one line or phrase. The Attorney asked a two-part question, and McQueary got stuck on part one only. One of John McQeary's two testimonies did NOT occur at the Dauphin County Courthouse due to scheduling difficulties.

      We should be careful not to do what we are accusing others of doing, and cherry-picking statements without using context, or we then become just as bad as those who we are trying to expose :-)

    2. He was photographed at the courthouse in Dauphin. There's a transcript of his testimony there.

  4. N R,
    Unless you have the power to read John McQueary's mind, you are making a supposition.

    The Grand Jury was at Strawberry Square - he remembered it.

    The Prelim was at Dauphin County CH - he has no recollection of it.

    I think I understand the context quite well, actually.

    1. Ray,

      We shall see further on down the line if I'm just supposing.

      Other than this one issue, I agree with everything else.

  5. If I'm not mistaken you've made quite the supposition in your last few sentences.

    1. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't.

      We'll see in a little while.

    2. I can guarantee you did, there's no question about that. I have a question though, why don't you just ask them what they would say about that?

    3. How do you know I haven't already asked them?

      And the "them" is well documented.

    4. I don't know that you didn't ask some, you may have. That doesn't change the fact that your statement is a supposition, you didn't ask them all. Tell me I'm wrong.

      Just out of curiosity, where is the "them" well documented?

  6. Can you read? Two of the three are in stated in the blog. The others will be known soon enough.

    I don't have to ask them all, just the ones who matter.

  7. I don't feel I gave you any reason to get snotty. Yes I can read. I've read some of your stuff but not all of it. I didn't visit here to learn anything, I came to see what you had. You're right, you don't have to ask them all. Freeh thought the same thing.

  8. If you can read, then why did you ask me a question that was answered in the blog post you happened to be commenting on? Seems to me, you didn't take the time to read it before you started shooting your mouth off.

    You didn't visit here to learn anything. Well, that's not surprising to me in the least.

    As for Freeh, we'll see how things go for him in the near future.

  9. I'm not taking your bait. Yes, I came here to see what you had.

  10. I've read what I needed to read, probably best that I bow out. I'll leave you alone now.