On March 2, 2002, Mike McQueary went to Joe Paterno to tell him what he’d seen the night before in the Penn State locker room: Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky raping a boy who looked to be about 10. McQueary, then a 28-year-old grad assistant in the football program, immediately fled the locker room after witnessing the scene. Sources tell the New York Times that the next day McQueary gave Paterno, the athletic director, and another senior administrator all the details of what he saw. McQueary was told, weeks later, that Sandusky was no longer allowed to bring children on campus, and there’s no evidence showing that he pushed the issue further after that point.
The Times paints a picture of McQueary as a local kid who lived and breathed football and led Penn State’s Nittany Lions as a senior quarterback—and one of just two Penn State employees known to have witnessed Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse. Neighbors, teammates, and a former coach describe him as “a real decent” kid, a “fiery” redhead who was constantly tossing a football. After returning to Penn State to work in the football program in 1999, it became McQueary’s dream to someday take over Paterno’s job as head coach; after the 2002 incident, he continued rising up the ranks, often visible at Paterno’s side. The Times notes that Saturday’s Penn State game could determine whether the Lions will reach a major bowl game—and TMZ reports that McQueary will still be acting as receivers coach that day.