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Penn State whistleblower suit will move forward

Mike McQueary sued the school last year, claiming it defamed and misrepresented him

Another chapter in the Pennsylvania State University sexual abuse scandal is moving forward.

A judge ruled earlier this week that the case Mike McQueary brought against Penn State may move forward. Penn State fired McQueary, the school’s former assistant football coach, after he blew the whistle on the now-infamous sex abuse scandal within Penn State’s football program.

McQueary claims in the suit, which he filed in October, that his termination was a violation of his whistleblower rights, and that the school defamed and misrepresented him. He also says Penn State’s treatment toward him after the scandal broke has caused him distress, anxiety and humiliation.

Penn State asked the court to dismiss McQueary’s suit, but Judge Thomas Gavin didn’t agree. Gavin said in his Tuesday ruling allowing the case to proceed that McQueary has made sufficient claims of “outrageous conduct” on the part of Penn State.

The events leading up to McQueary’s suit were shocking to many when revealed. In 2001, McQueary saw former football coach Jerry Sandusky raping a child in a campus shower and reported the incident to Penn State’s head football coach, Joe Paterno. Paterno alerted his superiors, but not the police. A decade later, the scandal broke, and late last year, the school fired Paterno and placed McQueary on leave. Sandusky was convicted of his crimes and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

In his suit, McQueary asks for at least $4 million in damages for defamation as a result of the school’s then-president publicly supporting its athletic director and vice president after charges were announced. He also asks for another $4 million for misrepresentation because the school officials involved at the time told him that appropriate action would be taken against Sandusky.

Read more of InsideCounsel’s coverage of the Penn State scandal:

NCAA wants Pennsylvania’s suit over Sandusky dropped

Pa. governor sues NCAA over Penn State scandal

Penn State’s GC was criticized too harshly for her role in the Sandusky scandal

Former Penn State president says there was no cover-up

Whistleblower in Penn State sexual abuse scandal sues school

NCAA fines Penn State $60 million

Penn State GC criticized in report

Former Penn State assistant coach to sue university

Lessons from the Penn State scandal


Cathleen Flahardy

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