On the day he was fired, former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno allegedly told Mike McQueary that university officials improperly handled the allegations about convicted serial child sex-abuser Jerry Sandusky and that the university would try to scapegoat him, McQueary testified Monday morning.

McQueary, a former football player and coach at Penn State, and a key witness in the prosecution of three former administrators charged in the Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, told one of the administrator's attorneys that Paterno also told him not to trust the university's former general counsel, Cynthia Baldwin.

"'The university is going to come down hard on you,'" McQueary said Paterno told him. "'They're going to try to scapegoat you. Don't trust Cynthia Baldwin and don't trust Old Main.'"

Old Main is the building housing the offices of the university president and major Penn State officials.

McQueary's comments came during a cross-examination by Thomas J. Farrell, an attorney representing former Penn State vice president of business and finance Gary Schultz. Schultz, along with former athletic director Tim Curley and former university president Graham Spanier, has been charged with covering up allegations regarding sexual misconduct by Sandusky.

A former Penn State police director also testified Monday that, had he known about McQueary's allegations that he saw Sandusky molest a boy in 2001, police would have investigated Sandusky because of a report, three years prior, alleging similar conduct.

In the afternoon, two administrative assistants who worked for Schultz testified about a file Schultz kept locked in his office, separate from the central filing system, containing Schultz's notes and emails on the allegations against Sandusky.

The second assistant testified in exchange for immunity that she retrieved certain files for Schultz that he kept separate from the central filing system, including one he kept on Sandusky. The woman said Schultz asked specifically for the files he used when he transitioned back into his job in 2011, after having been on a leave of absence.

Monday marked the start of the preliminary hearing in the cases against Curley, Schultz and Spanier. The proceedings will continue into today.

Schultz, Curley and Spanier are facing a number of charges, including endangering the welfare of a child, failure to report child abuse, perjury and others. The three men maintain their innocence and have argued in court filings that Baldwin misrepresented her legal obligations to them prior to their appearing before a grand jury.

Monday was also the first day in court for Spanier, who was charged nearly a year after Curley and Schultz.

During testimony, former Penn State University Police Director Thomas Harmon also identified several emails in which he kept Schultz and Curley, and eventually Spanier, apprised of allegations regarding inappropriate contact between Sandusky and a boy in 1998 in a Penn State shower.

Then, in 2001, Schultz asked about Sandusky's file, but did not report McQueary's allegations, Harmon testified.

The lead attorney for the state, Chief Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer, asked Harmon to identify an email that he, as director of police, sent to Schultz in February 2001.

In that email, Harmon informed Schultz, who oversaw the police department as vice president, that police had records of the 1998 incident.

The email, which Harmon testified he may have sent in response to an inquiry from Schultz about the Sandusky file (though he didn't remember the conversation), came in February 2001. That was the same month McQueary has long claimed he told Paterno, and then the administrators, that he saw Sandusky engaging in sexually inappropriate contact with a young boy in a Penn State locker room shower.

However, Harmon testified that Schultz did not report the 2001 incident McQueary reported to him and Curley.

Had Schultz relayed that message to police, Harmon said he would have opened up an investigation.

Under cross-examination from Farrell, Schultz's attorney, Harmon conceded that he did not remember the conversation that prompted him to email Schultz about the file of the 1998 incident, but said he would have remembered if Schultz had told him about a subsequent incident like McQueary's report.

Farrell, along with Spanier's attorney, Elizabeth K. Ainslie, also elicited testimony from Harmon that their clients had no role in the decision not to bring charges against Sandusky in 1998.

Ainslie focused her cross-examination of Harmon on the relatively large amount of administrators reporting to Spanier while he was president between 1995 through 2011. With Harmon on the stand, Ainslie also pointed out that Spanier was copied on fewer emails than Curley and Schultz during the 1998 investigation. Harmon admitted he didn't know the extent to which Spanier was apprised of the Sandusky investigation outside of the one or two emails prosecutors have.

Beforehand, in what was about an hour of testimony, defense attorneys asked McQueary on cross-examination to detail what he told people other than their clients about what he saw, and if McQueary ever checked in with the administrators over a nine-year period on that status of his report.

McQueary, blaming himself for not challenging his superiors at the time, said he had not.

The 38-year-old former assistant football coach has sued the university, claiming he was wrongfully terminated and defamed.

An administrative assistant for Schultz, Joan Coble, also testified Monday that Schultz kept a Sandusky file under lock and key that she said she initially thought was a retirement contract.

A second woman who was an administrative assistant for Schultz, Kim Belcher, testified in exchange for immunity from prosecution that she removed certain files on Sandusky from Schultz's office at Schultz's behest after he stopped working in November 2011.

Belcher said Schultz had asked for his "transitory files" days after Schultz met with Spanier and other Penn State administrators November 5, 2011, the day Schultz and Curley were first charged. At some point during the next week, Belcher said she made a copy of Schultz's Sandusky file and dropped one at Schultz's house and kept copies for herself.

It wasn't until April 2012, the woman testified, that she turned over the files to the Office of Attorney General, after she had secured legal representation.

The files are Schultz's emails and handwritten notes pertaining to allegations against Sandusky, Belcher testified.

On cross-examination, Belcher testified that she was never asked to destroy any documents.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse and is serving a minimum of 30 years in state prison.

Ben Present can be contacted at 215-557-2315 or bpresent@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter @BPresentTLI.