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Penn State assistant says he did go to police about Sandusky incident

The Penn State graduate assistant who said he witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in 2002 told a friend that he went to the police about it.
/ Source: NBC, and news services

The then-Penn State graduate assistant who said he witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in 2002 told a friend that he went to the police about it.

In a Nov. 8 email from his Penn State account, Mike McQueary wrote that he "did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police" following the alleged incident between Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, and a boy.

McQueary, now an assistant coach on administrative leave, also wrote that he "is getting hammered for handling this the right way or what I thought at the time was right."

"I had to make tough impacting quick decisions," McQueary wrote.

The Morning Call and The Associated Press reported on the contents of the email on Tuesday. In a brief interview with CBS News on Tuesday, McQueary, in his first public comments, said his emotions were "all over the place, just kind of shaken."

"Like a snow globe," he added.

Sandusky, a retired Penn State assistant coach, is accused of sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year span.

Some have criticized McQueary's response to the 2002 incident, saying he did not immediately report the abuse to police. A grand jury report stated that a graduate assistant, later identified as McQueary, witnessed the abuse in the shower and left.

McQueary was placed on administrative leave last week after Penn State officials said he had received threats.

In the Nov. 8 email to a former classmate, McQueary said, "I did stop it, not physically, but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room," The Morning Call reported.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is asking for a hearing into how federal laws apply to the investigation of the child sex-abuse case that has enveloped Penn State University.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Richard Burr, Casey, D-Pa., wants an expedited hearing in the Subcommittee on Children and Families to see how well federal laws protect children and to ensure that provisions for reporting suspected cases are in place.

Pennsylvania is not one of the 18 states that require all adults to report suspected child abuse.

The request results from the state investigation into Sandusky, who is charged with abusing eight children over a 15-year period. Prosecutors say some of the alleged crimes happened at the university, where he had access to campus as an emeritus professor following his 1999 retirement as coach Joe Paterno's top defensive assistant.

Authorities were investigating the possibility of more victims. The New York Times reported on its website late Monday that close to 10 additional suspected victims have come forward to authorities since Sandusky's arrest, citing to people close to the investigation. The paper said police were working to confirm the new allegations.

Also, New York City-based not-for-profit serving disadvantaged youth confirmed Tuesday that at least one child stayed at the Sandusky home in the mid-1990s.

The Fresh Air Fund places New York City children in disadvantaged neighborhoods with volunteer host families each summer in rural and suburban communities. The organization is now looking into whether more children were sent to the Sandusky home in the 1970s.

"Based on our initial review of our files, we can confirm that ... one Fresh Air Fund child stayed at the Sandusky home in the mid-1990s and we have shared this information with the Pennsylvania authorities," Andrea Kotuk, a Fresh Air Fund public relations consultant, told NBC News.

"We are continuing to review our files for earlier time periods. As of today we believe that more children may have stayed at the Sandusky home in the 1970s … and at this point we cannot comment further."

Sandusky defended himself in a phone interview with Bob Costas that was broadcast Monday night on NBC's Rock Center. He admitted to showering and horsing around with young boys, but said he is not a pedophile.

"I say that I am innocent of those charges," Sandusky said in the phone interview.

When asked by Costas, "Are you a pedophile," Sandusky responded, "No."

Sandusky faces 40 criminal counts of sexual abuse of minors and is currently free on a $100,000 bond. The allegations date back to 1994, according to a grand jury report filed Nov. 5 in Pennsylvania state court. The report details claims of alleged sexual encounters in Sandusky's home, hotels and Penn State locker rooms.

"I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact," said Sandusky.

On Tuesday, TODAY spoke with Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola, who conceded that the former coach had some lapses in judgment.

'"The easy answer is he didn’t use a whole lot of common sense because obviously he had the warning in the late ‘90s, in the 1998 situation, and certainly should’ve ceased it then," Amendola told TODAY about Sandusky's showering with boys. "I’ve grilled him on that many times, but showering with kids doesn’t make him guilty."

In his Rock Center interview, Sandusky countered the allegation that then-graduate assistant McQueary witnessed him engaged in a sexual act in 2002 with a minor in the Penn State locker room's showers.

"I would say that's false,’’ Sandusky told Costas. “We were showering, and horsing around. And (the boy) actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor. And we were, as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay."

In another report, a janitor says he saw Sandusky performing a sex act on a young boy in the Penn State locker room in 2000, which he also denied.

“Because these types of crimes have a common theme and they take a common track, it’s not hard to fabricate allegations,’’ Amendola told TODAY. “The point is that he has maintained his innocence, and we live in a system that has presumes innocence and yet the public and the media, not everybody, but for the most part, have tried and convicted him, and he hasn’t had his day in court yet.’’

The allegations against Sandusky have shocked the Penn State community, resulting in the firing of legendary head coach Paterno and several other university officials. On Monday, the CEO of Sandusky’s youth charity, Second Mile, resigned.

Amendola told TODAY the accusers could have financial aims.

“What’s happening now, in my opinion, is that we have a bunch of people who have read the allegations, realize that there is a large university involved and there maybe is a lot of money involved in lawsuits that are going to certainly come,’’ Amendola said. “Until we sort through these allegations, we have absolutely no idea if they’re authentic or not.’’

Legal experts questioned why Sandusky's attorney would have let him speak publicly.

"He admitted he showered with little boys, he admitted he touched little boys’ legs, he hugged little boys, he’s saying people just made all this other stuff up,” New York attorney Tom Harvey told the New York Daily News. “He’s just given up his Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate himself. All of that can and will be used against him.”

"Mr. Sandusky goes on worldwide television and admits he did everything the prosecution claims he did, except for the ultimate act of rape or sodomy? If I were a prosecutor, I'd be stunned," said Lynne Abraham, the former district attorney of Philadelphia. "I was stunned, and then I was revolted."

It is unclear who made the decision for Sandusky to speak on his own behalf. On Tuesday, Costas said in an appearance on the television show "Morning Joe" that he was expecting to speak with Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola.

About 15 minutes before the interview, Amendola said Sandusky would be available to speak.

"We pivoted and made it an interview with Sandusky," Costas said.

Amendola defended the decision to let Sandusky speak publicly.

“We had talked about it, and I explained to Jerry that this was an opportunity for him to tell people how he felt and what has happened in his life and the fact that he is not guilty of these offenses,’’ Amendola said. “He took that opportunity. Jerry has wanted to talk about this for a long, long time.’’