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Penn State Assistant Coach McQueary Put On Leave

Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary.
Chris Gardner
Getty Images
Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary.

Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary will not be at Saturday's game against Nebraska. During a press conference, Rod Erickson, the school's interim president, announced that McQueary had been placed under administrative leave.

As we had reported, the school said yesterday McQueary would not be at the game because it had received "multiple threats" against him.

This is the latest move in a scandal that has engulfed Penn State, where former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing boys for more than a decade and former head coach Joe Paterno was fired after he was heavily criticized for not having done more to investigate the allegations. Sandusky says he's innocent and Paterno has not been criminally charged.

McQueary, who was a graduate assistant at the time, told Paterno in 2002 that he had witnessed Sandusky molesting a boy at a Penn State locker room. A grand jury report (warning: it is graphic) reveals McQueary did not try to stop what was going on.

Update at 5:29 p.m. ET. A Whistle Blower?

The Patriot-News reports that while some have called for McQueary to be fired, he may be "protected as a whistleblower." The paper adds:

"Gerald J. Williams, a partner at a Philadelphia law firm, said Pennsylvania law is broad in protecting a person who reports wrongdoing, as long as that person is part of a governmental or quasi-governmental institution, such as Penn State.

"Asked if McQueary were protected by whistleblower status, trustee Boyd Wolff said today after a board meeting, 'He's a witness. He's different from the others, so he has to be treated differently.'"

Update at 6:16 p.m. ET. More Fallout:

How this scandal will affect Penn State in the long run is still to be seen, but today Moody's, one of the three major credit rating agencies, said it was reviewing the university's Aa1 credit rating.

The AP reports:

Moody's will assess the potential impact on Penn State of risks from possible lawsuits, a decline in students applying to attend the school, loss of donations from philanthropies and changes in its relationship with the state.

Its strong current bond rating reflects its attractiveness to prospective students, its respected academic program and status as the state flagship and land grant university that's drawn out-of-state students paying high tuition rates.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.