Sandusky prosecutor: Paterno not part of cover-up

Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno. (Charles Fox/Staff Photographer )
Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno. (Charles Fox/Staff Photographer )
Posted: September 07, 2013

One of the attorneys who prosecuted the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse case said he found no evidence that former Pennsylvania State University football coach Joe Paterno participated in a cover-up of the allegations.

In an interview Wednesday night on the Showtime program 60 Minutes Sports, Frank Fina did say, however, that he believed other key Penn State officials had obstructed the investigation.

Attorneys for former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley had sought an injunction in Dauphin County Court to stop the cable network from airing the interview with Fina and Joe McGettigan, who also prosecuted the case. They argued that broadcasting the interview would hinder Schultz's and Curley's rights to a fair trial.

In July, Schultz, Curley, and former Penn State president Graham B. Spanier were ordered held for trial on charges that included perjury, child endangerment, obstruction, and failing to report abuse.

The trial is expected to begin later this year.

Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year jail sentence for his conviction on multiple accounts of child sexual abuse.

In the interview, which aired about six hours after the motion was filed, Fina indicated that top Penn State officials interfered with the investigation into Sandusky.

"We come to realize that they're actively obstructing our investigation," he told interviewer Armen Kateyian.

The motion filed by Schultz's attorney argued that Fina's comment "violates the most fundamental rules of professional conduct for prosecutors: the prohibitions against giving interviews about open cases that may harm a defendant's right to a fair trial and against expressing a personal opinion of a defendant's guilt."

About Paterno's not having a role in a cover-up, Fina said, "I'm viewing this strictly on the evidence, not any kind of fealty to anybody. ... I did not find that evidence."


Contact Allison Steele at 610-313-8113 or asteele@phillynews.com

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