(BELLEFONTE, Pa.) — Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, a key prosecution witness in the trial of fellow football coach Jerry Sandusky, Tuesday yelled at a defense attorney when pressed about his claim that he saw Sandusky raping a young boy in the team’s showers.
McQueary’s confrontation with the defense lawyer came after he again described finding Sandusky and a boy locked in what he indicated was anal sex, and how he left after making a loud noise and looking at Sandusky, but not speaking to him.
The boy in the showers has never been identified, and McQueary’s subsequent statements are at the heart of the university’s dismissal of school president Graham Spanier and legendary football coach Joe Paterno, and criminal charges against two other school officials for not alerting police.
McQueary’s testimony is a centerpiece of the state’s case against Sandusky and is the first eyewitness account of molestation in the trial. McQueary’s eventual statement to investigators, in addition to the alleged victims’ own claims, led to Sandusky’s arrest on 52 charges of child sex abuse.
McQueary followed to the stand a teenager being identified by ABC News only as Victim 1 whose wrenching story had jurors wiping tears from their eyes. Victim 1’s story paralleled the story of Victim 4, who testified Monday that he was abused by Sandusky for years.
McQueary confidently gave the court a detailed description Tuesday of hearing “skin-on-skin slapping sounds” when he walked into the shower room of the Penn State football building on a Friday night in 2001 and seeing Sandusky pressed against a young boy in the shower.
He said he saw Sandusky and the boy, about 10 to 12 years old, in the shower with the boy pressed up against the shower wall and Sandusky behind with his arms wrapped around him “in closest proximity I think you can be.”
McQueary said he stepped closer to look directly at the shower, instead of in the mirror, and that Sandusky and the boy separated and looked right at him. He then slammed his locker door shut loudly.
“We looked directly in each other’s eye and at that time I left the locker room,” McQueary said. “I made the loud noise in an attempt, I think, to say, OK, someone’s here, break it up, please. Again I wasn’t thinking quite 100-percent right. I’m used to pressure situations that was more than my brain could handle.”
McQueary’s statements about what he saw in the shower that night came under scrutiny after the prosecutor’s office changed the date of the alleged event from 2002 to 2001, and McQueary’s statements to his father, father’s friend, and Penn State officials seemed to vary, according to grand jury testimony.
On cross-examination, Sandusky’s defense attorney Karl Rominger questioned a tense McQueary about those inconsistencies.
McQueary said that although he described in “vague” terms to his father, his father’s friend, and then his Penn State superiors what he saw, he was sure that they knew it was sexual.
McQueary, when pressed by Rominger, also said he “made sure Coach Joe knew it was sexual,” referring to head coach Joe Paterno.
Rominger tried to show that McQueary had changed his story about what he saw to the people he told.
McQueary, raising his voice on the stand at Rominger, said that if his father’s friend contradicted McQueary’s account of events, he “would not call him a liar.”
McQueary told the lawyer that Rominger was “playing semantics.” When asked if he was sure Sandusky saw him in the locker room that night, McQueary said, “I’m a tall man,” and “a big red-haired guy, most people see me wherever I go,” causing laughter in the courtroom.
Rominger pressed McQueary for details about what he saw, confirming that McQueary never saw genitals or insertion, but McQueary said, “There’s no way his genitals were not pressing up against the boy’s rear end.”
His testimony was the third major account of sexual abuse heard during the trial, and followed the halting, crying testimony of the man known as “Victim 1” Tuesday morning, the 18-year-old man who launched the sex abuse investigation into Sandusky.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lisa France, CNN
Elizabeth Cohen and Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
Tahman Bradley, WGN
John Newsome, CNN