Sandusky and Corbett: Together again

Kane
Kane
Posted: June 26, 2014

SO NOW WE have the report on why the Jerry Sandusky investigation took so long.

It was released this week, many months after many folks wondered why the report was taking so long.

After all, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, elected in 2012 largely on claims she'd investigate why the Sandusky investigation took so long, said in January 2013, "I will guarantee you this: It will be done in a timely manner."

Guess she meant "timely" for government work.

Gov. Corbett back then suggested she hire outside counsel.

She said, "I'm quite capable of conducting an investigation."

Then she hired outside counsel.

She got former federal prosecutor and Widener Law professor H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., whom she promptly appointed special deputy attorney general, I assume so it wouldn't look like she hired outside counsel.

And the report?

Well, Corbett might be a hands-off, questionable manager (as if that's new information) but he's not a total sleaze.

Remember Kane's suggestion that Sandusky dragged on because then-Attorney General Corbett was running for governor, playing politics and taking contributions from board members of Second Mile, Sandusky's charity for disadvantaged youth?

In other words, remember Kane suggesting Corbett maybe sacrificed some kids for a political edge and cash?

The report found no evidence of that.

Now keep in mind, Moulton had no subpoena power and didn't review any Corbett campaign or personal emails.

Also keep in mind that if one's playing politics with a volatile child-sex case, one likely doesn't leave an email trail.

And if you're thinking of all those emails in the Attorney General's Office deleted under a "new policy" before Kane got there - yeah, see, they were recovered.

So Moulton vindicates Corbett on playing politics as a prosecutor - at least on this case.

(I'd note that as an Allegheny County assistant D.A. from 1976 to 1981, Corbett handled child-sex cases and as attorney general made child predators an agency priority.)

But Moulton giveth and Moulton taketh away.

The report raps the handling of Sandusky for a 2010 period when the investigation came to a "complete standstill."

Moulton said it's "puzzling" there wasn't a more aggressive search for additional victims while the office investigated one abuse allegation. And he questioned why Sandusky's home wasn't searched sooner than it was.

But, said Moulton, "the final outcome was a success."

Sandusky, 70, is serving 30 to 60 years for assaulting 10 boys, and last year Penn State agreed to pay $60 million to 26 sex-abuse victims.

Moulton was measured and professional in presenting his findings.

Kane was heated and political.

She spoke of "inexcusable" delays in charging Sandusky, said she'd have done things differently and even said two victims were abused by Sandusky six to seven months after the state got the case in March 2009.

These victims aren't mentioned in Moulton's report despite the fact that their existence would bolster claims that delay in charging predators is dangerous.

The lead Sandusky investigator, Frank Fina, who now works for Philly D.A. Seth Williams, told reporters there are no such victims, calling Kane's claim "outright fabrication."

Kane's office yesterday issued a statement saying "it is absolutely true" two individuals say they were abused by Sandusky in the fall of 2009.

So one fallout here is escalation of a Kane/Fina feud that grew out of a sting case involving Philly lawmakers caught on tape taking cash: Fina says Kane dumped it; Kane says it was too botched to prosecute.

Entertaining, sure; just doesn't promote public trust in the justice system.

Bottom line on Moulton?

Is it a stunner that campaign chatter doesn't always match reality?

Is it surprising that government work (prosecutions or reports) can drag on?

And the politics here are pretty set. Don't like Corbett? He still killed Joe Paterno. Don't like Kane? She still stretches stuff for political gain.

As one former prosecutor put it, channeling Aesop: "When all is said and done, more is said than done."


Email: baerj@phillynews.com

Blog: ph.ly/BaerGrowls

Columns: ph.ly/JohnBaer

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