(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) — Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary testified Friday that he didn’t actually witness former coach Jerry Sandusky penetrating a young boy in the shower, but that he saw activity he believed was sexual and said as much to head coach Joe Paterno.
McQueary was the first of five witnesses to testify in a hearing before District Judge William C. Wenner to determine what Penn State officials knew about Sandusky’s alleged child sexual abuse on the Penn State campus.
In Friday’s hearing, McQueary said he did not actually see rape in the 2002 shower incident, but something he believed was sexual in nature.
“The boy was up against the wall, his hands up, Jerry behind him in a close position, with his hands wrapped around the boy. I thought to myself this is a sexual position,” he testified.
“Jerry having some type of intercourse with him, that’s what I believe I saw.”
McQueary’s testimony of the incident is a vital part of the cases against Sandusky, who is accused of 50 counts of molesting children, and two top university officials who are accused of lying to a grand jury about what they knew of the alleged incident.
The hearing will determine whether former athletic director Tim Curly and former vice president of finance Gary Shultz can be tried for not reporting the alleged sexual assault to police and then lying about what they knew of the incident to the grand jury.
They told the grand jury that they knew of an incident in which Sandusky was seen “horsing around” with a boy in the showers, but were not told it was sexual. McQueary’s grand jury testimony contradicts those stories.
In his testimony Friday, McQueary recounted the incident once more.
“I stepped back and didn’t want to see it anymore. I slammed the locker shut, and when I looked in, they had separated. I know they saw me, they both looked directly into my eyes, and neither said anything to me.”
“Seeing that they both saw me, I left the locker room. I can’t describe what I was thinking or feeling: shocked, horrified, distraught,” he said. McQueary then discussed the incident with his father and a family friend. All three men debated whether to call the police, but decided instead to tell Paterno.
McQueary said that the next day, he went to Paterno’s house early in the morning and told him in vague terms what he saw, describing the “rough position” in which he saw Sandusky, but withholding specifics. He testified that he made it clear to Paterno that it was sexual.
Paterno, he said, was shocked and saddened, and told McQueary he was sorry McQueary saw it.
Paterno then said he would tell some people, and told McQueary he did the right thing. In the two to three months following the incident, Paterno asked McQueary how he was coping with what he saw.
Following his conversation with Paterno, McQueary says he then had a meeting with Shultz and Curly in the Bryce Jordan center. There, he said he told the officials a similar story to what he told Paterno, emphasizing that what he saw was sexual in nature and describing in vague terms the position he saw Sandusky standing in the shower.
McQueary was not contacted by law enforcement officials following any of the conversations, but was told by Curly four or five days later that the officials had looked into it and taken some actions to restrict Sandusky’s access to campus.
He said he was troubled when he saw Sandusky around campus again following the incident.
One of Sandusky’s attorneys, Karl Rominger, said Thursday that there was a simple explanation for why Sandusky would have been in a shower with the boy that night, and it was not sexual.
“Some of these kids don’t have basic hygiene skills, teaching a person to shower at the age of 12 or 14 sounds strange to some people, but people who work with troubled youth will tell you there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body,” Rominger told ABC affiliate WHTM.
Sandusky will not testify at the hearing, and earlier this week waived his own preliminary hearing and will proceed straight to trial.
Four other witnesses are set to testify at the hearing, though their identities have not been released.
Former head coach Joe Paterno’s testimony will be read aloud but he will not testify in court.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Barbara Starr, CNN
Doug Criss and Emily Smith, CNN
Dal Kalsi, CNN