A prosecutor who was instrumental in the grand jury investigation and conviction of Jerry Sandusky blasted three ex-Penn State administrators, saying in an interview broadcast Wednesday that the men covered up abuse allegations against the former coach.
“They absolutely, premeditatedly, I believe, didn’t report this and hid it,” said Frank Fina, a former prosecutor from the Attorney General’s Office who spoke on the show “60 Minutes Sports” on Showtime about the Sandusky case as well as the cases involving Penn State administrators Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz.
“I don’t think there’s any question that that’s what Spanier, Schultz and Curley did.”
The program, which also featured fellow Sandusky case prosecutor Joseph E. McGettigan III, was the first time the two lawyers had spoken about the high-profile trial that played out at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
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Comments released on Tuesday, to promote the show, drew the ire of the lawyers for Schultz and Curley, who filed a request for an emergency injunction with a judge in Dauphin County to stop the show from airing, saying it would taint the possible jury pool and that Fina violated a lawyer’s professional code of conduct by giving a personal opinion about a defendant’s guilt.
The judge’s decision was not known, and the show aired as planned.
The snippets from Tuesday also revealed that Fina said in the interview that he found no evidence during the investigation that coach Joe Paterno was involved in the alleged cover-up. "I’m viewing this strictly on the evidence, not any kind of fealty to anybody," Fina said.
Fina was particularly critical of the former Penn State administrators, who are facing charges they conspired to cover up separate abuse allegations in 1998 and 2001. The men’s lawyers have maintained that their clients are innocent and vow to fight the charges at trial.
“It’s offensive. I mean, I just don’t understand how you separate any of this — any of this from the context, which is children were being raped,” Fina told journalist Armen Keteyian during the interview. “I mean this isn’t hard. This isn’t — you know, this isn’t a difficult concept. This isn’t a wishy-washy issue.”
Fina also defended Mike McQueary, who saw Sandusky in a shower with a young boy in February 2001 and reported it to coach Joe Paterno, who reported the incident to his superior, Curley. Fina said the criticism of McQueary for not beating up Sandusky on the spot or immediately calling the police is “grossly unfair.”
“You gotta put yourself in this guy’s shoes,” Fina said. “Could he have done all those things? Yes. But in that time and space, in those handful of seconds, he sees that, he is so shocked. His entire universe is just being shattered to its core. And I don’t think it’s unbelievable. I don’t think it’s even strange that he would panic and run out the door, and seek his father. And then he immediately reports it. He immediately reports to Paterno.”
Fina called McQueary’s testimony at the trial a “knockout punch” that followed two victims’ testimony.
McGettigan and Fina never got to cross-examine Sandusky because he did not take the stand in his own defense. If he had, McGettigan’s first question would have cut right to the chase, he said.
“Mr. Sandusky, when did it first occur to you that it might be a good idea to be naked in a shower with an 8-year-old boy who you met that day, to pick him up, to hug him, to cover him with soap,” McGettigan said. “When’s the first time you did that?
“It would have been pathetic. I wish we had had the opportunity.”
McGettigan said the most telling moment of the trial came when he got to cross-examine Sandusky’s wife, Dottie.
“I said, ‘You’ve heard the testimony what all these young — young men have said about what happened to them when they were boys,’ Fina said. “ ‘Can you tell me one good reason why they’d lie?’ She had no answer.”
Fina weighed in on that moment, too:
“I thought it was one of the most poignant moments of the trial because you could literally hear time going by, because she just sat there,” Fina said. “And she looked over at Sandusky, and they locked eyes. And then she, her head dropped down, and she said, ‘I don't know.’
“I just thought it was unbelievably powerful.”
McGettigan also said in the interview that there were “dozens” more of Sandusky’s victims who were not witnesses in the criminal proceedings, and Fina confirmed it.
This story has been updated to add a reference and link to the story in Tuesday's CDT about Fina's comments about Paterno.