ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
HARRISBURG, Pa. — In a long-awaited report about the state’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky investigation, a former federal prosecutor said political considerations did not slow or otherwise influence the inquiry, but he faulted investigators for not acting sooner, particularly for not searching Sandusky’s home earlier in the investigation.
In a statement accompanying the report, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said her call for a review was vindicated, citing “crucial missteps and inexplicable delays in bringing a serial child molester to justice.”
Ms. Kane, a Democrat, made reviewing the investigation — conducted under the direction of the previous attorney general, now-Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican — a central pledge of her 2012 campaign for office.
Ms. Kane and Special Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Moulton, Jr., the former federal prosecutor who led the review, released the findings Monday and discussed them at a news conference.
Sandusky, a former Penn State University assistant football coach, was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing 10 boys and is serving a 30 to 60-year prison sentence.
The report covers the time period from November, 2008, when a 15-year-old boy known as Victim 1 made his initial accusation, to November, 2011, when Sandusky was charged.
Although Mr. Moulton’s report faults investigators for not taking certain steps sooner, the review “revealed no direct evidence that electoral politics influenced any important decision made in the Sandusky investigation. In fact, according to [Frank] Fina, who both supervised and directly participated in the investigation, Attorney General Corbett never made any substantive decisions related to the conduct of the investigation.”
The 160-plus-page report is critical of some decisions, though.
“Other investigative steps were undertaken relatively late in the game, including contacting [Sandusky’s charity] The Second Mile for lists of participants; contacting Centre County CYS to ask about prior allegations; using Sandusky’s autobiography to identify potential victims; and searching Sandusky’s home. [H]ad these steps been taken in 2009 or 2010, rather than in 2011, Sandusky might well have been charged earlier.”
In particular, the search of Sandusky’s home uncovered critical evidence, such as “many photographs of already-identified Sandusky victims, as well as lists of Second Mile campers with hand-written asterisks next to their names. Had the search been conducted in 2009 or 2010, investigators could have used the photographs and names with asterisks to find victims much earlier than they did.”
Investigators were concerned at the time about the public attention that such a search could receive, and also felt “because Sandusky was aware of the investigation, and because he was not a computer user, a search would be unlikely to turn up any useful evidence.”
Mr. Fina and other investigators reiterated those concerns Monday.
“[T]he failure to search Sandusky’s residence earlier in the investigation is difficult to defend,” the report says. “This was a significant missed opportunity.”
Not included in the report was a statement Ms. Kane made at a news conference Monday — alleging two additional victims said they were abused by Sandusky in the fall of 2009, while the state’s investigation was ongoing.
“We do have two individuals who indicated that they were abused by Sandusky, both in the fall of 2009,” Ms. Kane said.
“Those cases were already known before I took office ... The Office of Attorney General received the case in March of 2009 and two individuals indicated that they were abused, by Sandusky, sexually, in the fall of 2009.”
They were not among the cases Mr. Sandusky was charged with in his 2012 prosecution, she said.
The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kate Giammarise is a reporter for the Post-Gazette.