Thanks to Mike McQueary’s continuous bumbling and inability to accurately recall information, prosecutors have been forced to change a key date in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case.
When charges were initially brought against Sandusky, it was alleged that he had sexually molested a young boy in the Penn State locker room showers back on March 1, 2002. It was said at the time that McQueary -- a graduate assistant when this went down -- had walked in while the abuse was taking place, and then immediately vacated the premises when he saw what was going on.
Part of the original story was that McQueary was so troubled by what he had seen, that he ran out of the place and called his father to ask what he should do next. From there, per his dad's avice, he reportedly took the situation to former Penn State head football coach, Joe Paterno.
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In e-mails later exchanged between McQueary and his acquaintances, he maintained that he stopped the molestation before running away to call his dad. That didn’t jive with his original statements, and it led to many people questioning McQueary’s credibility.
This past December, McQueary once again threw folks following this case for a loop – this time testifying that, while he believed that Sandusky was molesting a young boy in the shower on that fateful night, because of his view, he could not be certain that they were having intercourse.
Now, according to court documents, McQueary’s unreliability as a star witness is forcing prosecutors to shift gears once again. According to McQueary, the shower incident that was alleged to have taken place on March 1, 2002, in fact took place on Feb. 9, 2011.
Two former Penn State administrators whose fates are indirectly tied to what happens in this Sandusky case (McQueary’s legitimacy is key in their legal troubles as well) were quick to jump on this latest development.
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"Now, it is clear that Mike McQueary was wrong in so adamantly insisting that the incident happened the Friday before Spring Break in 2002," they said in a statement said (via CBS). "Whether or not Mr. McQueary's insistence was the result of faulty memory, or questionable credibility, there is no dispute that the statute of limitations has expired on (the failure to report charge), and it will be dismissed."
Why is the date change so crucial to what ultimately happens in this case? Three reasons that were perfectly explained by the good folks at Deadspin:
1. According to lawyers for Tim Curley, Penn State's on-leave athletic director, and Gary Schultz, the school's former senior vice president of business and finance, that date would put the incident beyond the statute of limitations for the charges of failure to report abuse against both men.
2. McQueary's credibility is now further undermined. Or, as Sandusky's attorney, Lawyerin' Joe Amendola, told Ganim before the case's presiding judge issued a gag order last month: "I don't know if it's a lie as opposed to faulty memory, and if it's faulty memory, what else has he misremembered?"
3. Both Curley and Schultz are also charged with perjury for allegedly lying to the grand jury as part of an apparent coverup. But with McQueary as the sole witness prepared to testify against them (so far as we know), that perjury case just became that much more difficult to prove.
Sandusky is currently awaiting trial on 52 counts of sexual abuse. He is accused of molesting 10 boys over a 15-year span.
And thanks to McQueary, he very well may get off scot-free.