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'I'm Sorry You Had to See That' - Ex-Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on December 20, 2011 9:01 AM

Court testimony has revealed new details about how Penn State's ex-football coach Joe Paterno handled an initial report that Jerry Sandusky was caught molesting a boy in a Penn State shower room.

Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary testified that he said he witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in 2002.

But McQueary stopped short of calling the incident "rape."

In his first public account of the incident, McQueary testified that when he described the scene to his boss Joe Paterno, the coach said, "Well, I'm sorry you had to see that."

Joe Paterno continued, "It's terrible. I need to think and tell some people about what you saw and I'll let you know what we'll do next," McQueary told the court, according to The Patriot-News.

Paterno also told him he did the right thing, McQueary said.

But Mike McQueary testified he never described Jerry Sandusky's alleged assault as rape, sodomy, or anal sex -- not to Joe Paterno, not to former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, and not to former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz.

Instead, McQueary told the court, "I conveyed to them that I saw Jerry in the showers and that it was severe sexual acts and that it was wrong and over the line."

Penn State fired Curley and Schultz after prosecutors charged them with failure to report the alleged sex abuse and lying to a grand jury. Today's court hearing was a preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz.

Mike McQueary's testimony today was significant because it may possibly be used in future court proceedings, such as Jerry Sandusky's upcoming trial on 52 counts of child molestation.

Evidence rules generally allow the use of a witness' prior testimony -- if certain conditions are met. Like, for example, if the witness is unavailable to testify at a later date. Rules also generally require the witness to have been cross-examined at the prior hearing, which happened with Mike McQueary's testimony this morning.

McQueary has not been charged in the Penn State scandal, but the school has placed him on administrative leave. Joe Paterno, who became the winningest head coach in Division I college football in October, was fired from Penn State last month.

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