Penn State receivers coach Mike McQueary, here with Joe Paterno, will avoid Beaver Stadium because of multiple threats. | Gene Puskar~AP
Updated: December 13, 2011 9:01AM
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Just because Joe Paterno is gone doesn’t mean the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State is over.
Many questions remain — from how much Paterno actually knew to whether there will be any repercussions for assistant coach Mike McQueary, who told Paterno but not police about seeing former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in a shower with a young boy in 2002.
On Thursday night, the university decided McQueary, the receivers coach, should not attend the last home game of the season Saturday against Nebraska because of “multiple threats,” the school announced.
Earlier in the day, the school said McQueary would coach from the press box. But as the threats mounted, it was decided he should avoid Beaver Stadium.
McQueary has become a key figure in this scandal.
Then 28, McQueary was “distraught” after witnessing the alleged 2002 assault, according to the indictment. Yet it appears he might have continued to participate in fund-raising events with Sandusky — including one held less than a month later.
McQueary’s silence since the story broke a week ago has fueled his critics.
“I think it’s eating him up not to be able to tell his side, but he’s under investigation by the grand jury,” his father, John. J. McQueary, told the New York Times. “He’ll make it. He’s a tough kid.”
Even with McQueary shielded from public view, the game Saturday figures to be a spectacle.
Security reportedly has been beefed up for the game. And TMZ reported coaches held a meeting with players and told them their friends and family should show support for Paterno by wearing white to the game.
It’s a bold move, considering there is a university-wide move for fans in the stands to wear baby blue to support the alleged sexual assault victims of Sandusky.
Sandusky, Paterno’s former assistant and onetime heir apparent, has been charged with molesting eight boys in a 15-year span. In the week since the grand jury released its report, Paterno and school president Graham Spanier have been fired, and two other top university officials also are out.
The Nittany Lions started life without the 84-year-old Paterno on Thursday, introducing interim coach Tom Bradley — Paterno’s lead assistant on the field the last 11 seasons — while the board of trustees was just beginning its formal investigation.
“We’re obviously in a very unprecedented situation,” Bradley said. “I have to find a way to restore the confidence.”
Meanwhile, NBC News is reporting that Paterno has hired prominent Washington criminal defense attorney J. Sedgwick Sollers to represent him. Sollers once represented former President George H.W. Bush in the Iran-Contra affair. Sollers declined to comment Thursday night, NBC reported.
Paterno has largely been supported by Penn State students and former players, but former coach Barry Switzer — a onetime Paterno foe who became friends with JoePa — said the university did the right thing in firing the iconic coach.
“The university had to do this,” Switzer told the Oklahoman. “Having been in this profession a long time and knowing how close coaching staffs are, I knew this was a secret that was kept a secret. Everyone on that staff had to have known.”