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Kane: Delays in Sandusky investigation 'inexcusable' - abc27 WHTM

Kane: Delays in Sandusky investigation 'inexcusable'

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky "took too long because of crucial missteps and inexplicable delays in bringing a serial child molester to justice."

Kane, citing a review of the investigation led by Special Deputy Attorney General H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., said "the facts show an inexcusable lack of urgency in charging and stopping a serial sexual predator."

Kane promised to launch a review of the investigation while running for attorney general after many wondered if Governor Tom Corbett, who was attorney general during some of the time Sandusky was being investigated, had delayed the process because of his political aspirations.

Moulton's review said no evidence was found that "political directives drove any of the decisions made throughout the course of the investigation. However, the facts and the timeline in the report raise serious concerns regarding decision 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."

In 2012, Sandusky was convicted of molesting 10 boys over a 15 year period. He is currently serving a 30-to-60 year prison sentence. He is a former assistant football coach at Penn State University. He was also the founder of the now-defunct Second Mile charity, which provided help and support to at-risk youth. It's believed Sandusky used his role in the charity and his role as football coach to meet and groom his victims.

The charges against Sandusky ultimately led to the firing of the late head football coach Joe Paterno. The investigation also resulted in criminal charges against the former university president Graham Spanier, vice-president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley. All three are awaiting trial.

The review found that in March of 2010, prosecutor Jonelle Eshbach sought to file multiple charges against Sandusky, but her pleas for a decision were "ignored for five months." She was reportedly told that charges would not proceed without more victims or better corroboration from Victim 1.

Victim 1 testified at trial that he met Sandusky through the Second Mile and that the sexual abuse began was he was 12 years old. He said he told officials at his school about the abuse and was told he and his family "needed to think about it. He (Sandusky) has a heart of gold."

After Eshbach's request, the report said there appeared to be "no concerted effort to identify additional victims."

"The case sat inactive for months while a predator was on the streets and a victim waited for justice," Kane said. "It is unfathomable why there was such a lack of urgency."

In response to the report, Eshbach's attorney said that she continues to believe charging Sandusky in 2010 would have been the appropriate course of action.

The report also noted that investigators did not search Sandusky's home for more than two years after they received the case.

Once Sandusky's State College home was searched, investigators discovered "many photographs of already-identified Sandusky victims, as well as lists of Second Mile campers with handwritten asterisks next to their names. Had the search been conducted in 2009 or 2010, investigators could have used the photographs and name with asterisks to find victims much earlier than they did," the report states.

The report when on to state that the "failure to search Sandusky's residence earlier in the investigation is difficult to defend."

"The failure to search Sandusky's residence with appropriate urgency alone is both unexcused and inexcusable," Kane said.

Moulton is an associate professor Emeritus at Widener University School of Law and a former federal prosecutor. He was specifically appointed by Kane to conduct the review.

A spokesperson for Corbett said the governor's office would have a response to the report once it became available to the public.

 

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