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AG investigative supervisor defends pace of Sandusky investigati - abc27 WHTM

AG investigative supervisor defends pace of Sandusky investigation

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) -

Randy Feathers physically recoils at the question: did Tom Corbett, then attorney general, deliberately slow the pace of the Jerry Sandusky investigation because he was running for governor?

Feathers quickly and sharply responds, "Absolutely not."

"First of all, you don't slow down investigators, at least this investigator you don't slow down," Feathers said. "And I was in charge of the investigation."

Feathers is now retired from the state attorney general's office where he worked for 25 years. He was the supervisor in charge of the Sandusky probe from nearly from the beginning. He agreed to talk abc27's Dennis Owens in the lobby of the Nittany Lion Inn before speaking at a law enforcement conference. It should be noted that Feathers is a Penn State graduate, as are two of his children and his brother, and a huge Nittany Lion football fan.

Feathers says he understands the frustration felt by Victim One, Aaron Fisher, and his family, who accused Sandusky of abuse in November 2008 and didn't see the molester arrested until November 2011. The case began with state police in December 2008 and wasn't turned over to the attorney general's office until March 2009. Feathers then began supervising the case in April 2009.

"One day that justice is denied is too long," Feathers said. "I mean, I understand Aaron's position and his mother's position. If it was my child I'd want Jerry Sandusky locked up yesterday."

Feathers says it took time to build a case, find more victims and corroborate Aaron's story. That's a story that Democratic attorney general candidate Kathleen Kane isn't buying.

"I was a child abuse prosecutor," Kane forcefully said recently in a debate with Republican candidate Dave Freed. "It has never taken me 33 months to get a predator, a pedophile, off of the streets."

Feathers dismisses the criticism.

"I must have missed the day she was in looking at the files and missed the days when she was at the trial," he said.

Kane has frequently criticized the attorney general for turning the case over to a grand jury, a process she calls way too slow.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico says Kane is flat-out wrong in that assertion. He says in certain cases grand juries are necessary and are an important tool for prosecutors, especially in high-profile cases such as the one against Sandusky.

"When you're going to kill the king, you better be sure you have the kill shot," Marsico said.

While grand juries are warranted, Marsico insists the second-guessing and criticism in this case are not.

"[The Sandusky case] is the most successful child abuse prosecution in Pennsylvania history," he said.

Feathers says it was successful, but not easy. Prosecuting and convicting Sandusky required great care and took time.

In their recently released book, "Silent No More," Fisher and his psychologist Michael Gillum complain repeatedly about the time it took to finally arrest Sandusky. They go on to suggest that Corbett deliberately slowed the investigation because he was afraid of the political fallout from Penn State fans and Second Mile contributors.

But in the same book, Gillum repeatedly says he told investigators that Aaron was fragile and delicate, emotionally and psychologically. He also said Fisher struggled to tell his story to just police officers and had near breakdowns in front of the closed-door grand jury.

Investigators saw the fragile Aaron too.

"Absolutely," Feathers said. "We interviewed Aaron numerous times. He was a very fragile young man. He was victimized. He was a victim. Had we rushed to judgement, rushed to put him in trial, we would have done nothing but victimize him again. I mean, we were able to corroborate everything he said. We believed Aaron from the very beginning. It was a matter of putting the case together and we did, and we're proud of it."

Feathers also disputes reports that only one trooper was placed on the case from the very beginning. He says a trooper and supervisor plus an attorney general investigator and a attorney general supervisor were working the case from the outset. He insists there was plenty of resources on the case.

"That's four men with more than a hundred years experience combined," he said.

Marsico also wonders why Corbett, as attorney general running for governor, has been criticized while Ed Rendell, who was governor and in charge of the state police during the investigation, has not been.

There is still the nagging question: were any boys abused after Fisher came forward but before Sandusky was arrested? Feathers says he doesn't think so because Sandusky knew he was being watched. Attorney General Linda Kelly says no.

But the frightening fact is we're still learning the full magnitude of Sandusky's heinous acts and may never know the exact number of victims.

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