STATE COLLEGE - A former Penn State graduate assistant cited by a grand jury report as claiming he saw an ex-assistant football coach sexually abusing a young boy in a campus locker room shower said in an email he made sure the act was stopped and then went to police - contradicting what the report said.
Mike McQueary's comments, in an email made available to The Associated Press on Tuesday, appeared to add more confusion to a scandal that has enveloped the university and resulted in the firing of head coach Joe Paterno, the ousting of school president Graham Spanier and charges of perjury against the athletic director and a senior vice president.
McQueary told a friend from Penn State that he made sure the 2002 shower assault he witnessed was stopped and went to the police about it. The friend made McQueary's email, written Nov. 8, available Tuesday on the condition he not be identified
McQueary, who has been placed on administrative leave and did not coach in Saturday's 17-14 loss to Nebraska, wrote: "I did stop it, not physically ... but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room ... I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police .... no one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30-45 seconds ... trust me."
Added McQueary: "Do with this what you want ... but I am getting hammered for handling this the right way ... or what I thought at the time was right ... I had to make tough impacting quick decisions."
According to the grand jury report, McQueary testified he spoke to his father and then to Paterno before speaking to athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz, who oversaw campus police. Paterno has not been charged with any crime, and state prosecutors have said he is not a target. Curley and Schultz are accused of breaking the law by not going to police but maintain their innocence.
McQueary's actions also have been scrutinized, with some critics suggesting he didn't do enough after witnessing what he said was the sexual abuse of a child. Emails to McQueary from the AP were not immediately answered Tuesday.
McQueary's remarks in the email to his friend came less than a day after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's admission that he showered with and "horsed around" with boys stunned legal observers. Sandusky's comments, they said, could be used by prosecutors trying to convict him of child sex abuse charges.
Experts in criminal law and crisis management questioned Sandusky's decision to give a TV interview in which he said that there was no abuse and that any activities in a campus shower with a boy were just horseplay, not molestation.
"Mr. Sandusky goes on worldwide television and admits he did everything the prosecution claims he did, except for the ultimate act of rape or sodomy? If I were a prosecutor, I'd be stunned," said Lynne Abraham, the former district attorney of Philadelphia. "I was stunned, and then I was revolted."