Police drop inquiry into Peters coach
Police on Wednesday dropped their investigation into allegations that the Peters Township High School varsity football coach put injured players back into games.
"We haven't found anything new that warrants investigation," Peters police Chief Harry Fruecht said during a news conference. "We're done with it."
The investigation began last week after Washington County Children and Youth Services received an anonymous tip that Richard Piccinini forced students -- some with concussions or concussion-like symptoms -- to go back into games. CYS turned the information over to police.
Fruecht said his department spoke with one parent, six students, the high school athletics director and a physical therapist employed by the district. The police investigation followed a district inquiry that also found no evidence to support claims against the coach by physical therapist and trainer Mark Mortland, who has provided services to the district since 2003.
Piccinini, 43, of Green Tree denied the allegations. He referred calls to his lawyer, Robert Del Greco, who said he was not surprised by the chief's decision.
"This investigation followed an exhaustive investigation -- by a principal, a superintendent and an athletic director -- with a much lower standard (for proof)," Del Greco said. "When a school district does an investigation and comes back with that conclusion, I was somewhat optimistic the police would come back with the same conclusion. Both (Piccinini) and I are delighted and relieved. Also, it helps to be factually innocent."
Del Greco said Piccinini is exploring a defamation suit against Mortland, who said he would welcome it.
"If that's the case, I would be very happy," Mortland said. "This would go to court and people would be under oath and the truth would come out."
District Superintendent Nina Zetty said she hoped the closure of the police investigation would put to rest further accusations.
"We know this has been a very difficult time for Coach Piccinini and the district offers its continued support to him and his team in moving this program forward," Zetty said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Penguins notebook: Flyers’ success in Pittsburgh stems from power play
- Developer delays renovation plans for Northway Mall
- Police investigate pair of fatal rush hour incidents in Shaler, Marshall
- Pirates notebook: Reliever Holdzkom among three players cut
- Obama vetoes union election bill; streamlined election process to move forward
- Monessen police investigating drive-by shooting
- Pa. Supreme Court upholds special prosecutor appointed to investigate leaks from Kane’s office
- Pirates again approach Polanco about contract extension
- Husband of accused drug-dealing teacher faces his own drug, intimidation charges
- Man awaiting trial for offering drugs to 2 teens found hanged in his Belle Vernon home