Jury selection begins in McQueary vs. Penn State whistleblower trial

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Four years after filing a lawsuit against Penn State accusing the school of effectively ending his career as a football coach because he testified in the Jerry Sandusky trial, Mike McQueary's trial against the university began Monday with jury selection.

Centre County Courthouse hosted 219 potential jurors on Monday morning, which Judge Thomas Gavin hopes to narrow to a list of 28 finalists from which attorneys will choose to strike before the 12-person jury and four alternates are chosen for the trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, Oct. 17.

A settlement between McQueary, the former Nittany Lion quarterback and assistant coach, and the university, could also occur.

Jury selection will continue at the courthouse in Bellefonte on Tuesday morning beginning at 9 a.m.

McQueary sued the university in 2012 after he was fired from his job as a Penn State football assistant coach. He claims the school fired him once he was identified as a key witness in the case against Jerry Sandusky. McQueary testified during the Sandusky trial he witnessed Sandusky showering with a young boy in a football complex shower while he was a graduate assistant in 2001. He testified that he told former head football coach Joe Paterno about the suspected abuse the following morning, but stayed silent until mentioning it to police when the investigation was opened in 2011.

Penn State placed McQueary on administrative leave after Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, and was fired by the university in June 2012. The university maintains his firing was because he was not retained by new head football coach Bill O'Brien when he was hired earlier that year.

McQueary, 42, is seeking $4 million in damages, estimating that is the amount of money he would have made over the course of his coaching career. Since 2012, he divorced his wife, and according to a 2014 ESPN.com article, has moved back in with his parents in State College and has been unable to maintain a steady, full-time job.

At jury selection Monday, potential jurors were asked to fill out a questionnaire which included 32 questions, ranging in topics regarding jurors knowledge of McQueary, Penn State, and sex abuse laws. The questionnaire also included a list of 45 potential witnesses, which included members of the Paterno family, Jerry and Dottie Sandusky, and O'Brien.

According to pool reporters, McQueary actively took notes on potential jurors during the voir dire process. It did not appear that employment at the university was immediate grounds to strike as numerous "finalists" either currently or formerly worked for the school.

Jurors were told to expect the trial, should it begin, to last approximately two weeks.