Big Break in Sandusky Investigation: Online Post

Police talked to McQueary after spotting rumor of Sandusky cover-up
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2011 3:39 AM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2011 7:28 AM CST
Online Posting Helped Expose Penn State Scandal
Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is shown on the sideline during the first quarter of the Alamo Bowl game against Texas A&M, in San Antonio, Texas, in 1999.   (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

A vital break in the investigation into Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of young boys came from a posting in a forum where people chatted about Penn State athletics, the New York Times finds in a detailed look at the case. Investigators—who already suspected that the former defensive coach was a serial abuser—spied the mention of a cover-up at Penn State and concluded that Mike McQueary had witnessed an assault. They found the assistant coach willing to unburden himself, law enforcement sources say.

"This had been weighing on him for a very long time, and our guys felt he was relieved to get it off his chest,” one law enforcement official says. “When he had the opportunity to make it right, he told the truth." As the investigation continued, and the scale of Sandusky's alleged abuse became evident, investigators were struck by how little the university did—and how many people seemed to know about the allegations. "This was not the secret that they are trying to make out now,” one source says. “I know there were a number of college coaches that had heard the rumors. If all these people knew about it, how could Sandusky’s superiors not know?" (Also, police say they have no record of McQueary reporting the 2002 incident. Click to read more.)

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