Penn State asked a judge Tuesday to throw out a whistle-blower lawsuit brought by the key witness against Jerry Sandusky.
The school said former assistant football coach Mike McQueary can't support his claims that he was defamed or harmed by the actions and statements of former president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz.
McQueary said in his suit, filed in October, that he had warned Curley and Schultz that Sandusky was sexually abusing children but they didn't do anything about it.
His defamation claim is based on two statements Spanier made in November 2011 in which he said Curley and Schultz "operate at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and compassion," and called the charges against the two "groundless."
McQueary said those statements implied that he was lying.
But Penn State said in its filing Tuesday that the statements don't reference McQueary.
The school also challenged the suit on the grounds that it doesn't specify whether he's bringing his claims under the state whistle-blower law or as a wrongful discharge suit.
McQueary says the school fired him because he provided grand jury testimony about Sandusky, who was convicted in June.
But the school said he doesn't have legal standing to pursue a wrongful discharge claim because he was not an at-will employee but a "fixed-term employee" whose term expired June 30, 2012.
McQueary testified before the grand jury in 2011 and at the Sandusky trial that he saw Sandusky showering with a boy in 2001 and reported what he had seen to former coach Joe Paterno, and then to Curley and Schultz.
Torsten Ove: firstname.lastname@example.org and 412-231-0132.