Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after his sentencing in his child sex abuse case in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania in this October 9, 2012, file photo. Credit: Reuters
Attorney General Kathleen Kane's long-awaited report on her official review of the Jerry Sandusky investigation, started to determine whether political sway led to slowdowns in the case, found no evidence of any such improper influence, she announced today.
While Kane said that the Sandusky investigation, due to "crucial missteps and inexcusable delays," took too long, no evidence reflects any improper influence behind those delays, according to a release from her office.
Gov. Tom Corbett was Attorney General in 2009 through 2011 and oversaw the investigation of Sandusky, an assistant coach for Penn State's football team who was convicted of molesting numerous young boys during his tenure there, as well as outside the school through his "Second Mile" charity for foster kids.
The scandal rocked Penn State as it was revealed another team employee witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the showers in 2002 and reported the wrongdoing to head coach Joe Paterno, who contacted other Penn State athletics directors, who collectively were found to have pursued no legal action.
Paterno left his position in November 2011 after Sandusky was arrested and charged. He died in January 2012 of natural causes.
The NCAA later punished Penn State's football team for its inactions with a $60 million fine and by vacating all of their victories from 1998 to 2011.
Special Deputy Attorney General H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. led the review of the Sandusky investigation.
"Moulton's review found no direct evidence that political directives drove any of the decisions made throughout the course of the investigation," Kane's office stated in a press release. "However, the facts and the timeline in the report raise serious concerns regarding decisions made at the very outset of the probe in 2009 and throughout 2010 and 2011, which ultimately delayed the investigation and the presentment of charges."
Kane's 2012 campaign for attorney general included repeated allegations that the Sandusky investigation took too long and she publicly questioned whether Corbett slowed the case due to political considerations.
However, two years later, the investigation found no evidence of such intentional delay.
"This was a full and fair review," Kane said in a statement. "The facts show an inexcusable lack of urgency in charging and stopping a serial sexual predator. The report documents that more investigative work took place in just one month in 2011 than in all of either 2009 or 2010."
The report found that charges were not filed in March 2009, when Corbett's office received the case of one victim who came forward. The report says no action to charge Sandusky was taken until a year later, March 2010, when prosecutor Jonelle Eschenbach recommended charges, which recommendation was denied.
Five months later, in August 2010, "senior OAG [Office of the Attorney General] leadership" reportedly told Eschenbach on the case "more victims were necessary for the case to proceed and they were declining to charge Sandusky."
Kane's press release omits the fact that in September 2009, Corbett convened a grand jury to investigate the Sandusky allegations.
A tip received by prosecutors in November 2010 led them to more victims of Sandusky.
Kane's report is also harshly critical of the fact that Sandusky's home was not searched for two years after Corbett's office received the case.
"This case sat inactive for months while a predator was on the streets and a victim waited for justice," Kane said in a statement released by her office. "The Grand Jury presentment, drafted and supported by the lead prosecutor, sat on someone's desk for five months. Only after the lead prosecutor repeatedly pushed for an answer, the presentment was denied. It is unfathomable why there was such a lack of urgency."
In November 2011, Sandusky was arrested and charged by the grand jury with more than 40 counts of molestation of young boys.
Sandusky was convicted in June 2012. He was sentenced in October 2012 to 30 to 60 years in prison.
UPDATE, 2 p.m.: Gov. Corbett released a statement on the report supporting its findings of no political influence on the investigation and reiterating his opinion that the "investigation was conducted appropriately and timely."
“The Sandusky investigation was conducted with a single purpose: to ensure justice for the victims and families by taking a child predator off the streets. Nothing more. Nothing less," Corbett said in his statement. "Because of the complexity of the case and for the sake of the victims, the investigators were careful to explore all evidence to the fullest extent. As made clear by the Moulton Report, this investigation was never about politics. It was always about the people victimized by this man.
“I am proud of the hard work of men and women who joined in the effort to support and fight for these victims. It was, however, difficult to see their motives and professionalism called in to question," the statement continues. "The release of this report reaffirms the integrity of their efforts. It refutes each aspect of the case that the Attorney General and others have questioned; has found no evidence of deliberate delay; and underscores the importance and appropriateness of the methods used in the investigation and subsequent conviction of a child predator."