A jury awarded former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary $7.3 million in damages on Thursday. McQueary was a key witness in the sexual molestation case against another former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Jurors found that McQueary was defamed by the university after it became public that he had reported seeing Sandusky abusing a boy in a team shower.
A decade before the Sandusky scandal broke in 2011, McQueary testified that he reported to then-head coach Joe Paterno that he saw Sandusky engaged in a “clear” sex act with a young boy.
McQueary, who was a graduate student at the time, claims because of that testimony he lost his assistant coaching job and was made a scapegoat in the case. He came under scathing criticism for failing to stop the abuse he witnessed.
McQueary said that since his testimony was made public he’s been unable to find work, his marriage broke up and he lives with his parents.
NPR’s Jeff Brady reports that the university argued in court that McQueary’s contract was not renewed in a routine shake-up after Paterno was fired. University lawyers also said that McQueary could have reported the crime to the police himself.
A judge has yet to rule on McQueary’s whistleblower claim in the case.
Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys in 2012 and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.
A Penn State spokeswoman declined comment until the case is completed.