New Castle News


June 24, 2014

Our Opinion: Report finds flaws in Sandusky probe, but no scanda

NEW CASTLE — So it seems the investigation into Jerry Sandusky was less than perfect.

We imagine the same could be said about many investigations. It’s just that when the matter involves a child predator — and the possibility of additional victims while investigators get their act together — the stakes in the matter are raised.

But those concerns really weren’t what led to the examination of the Sandusky probe, and the report that was issued by the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane yesterday. Instead, the report was the product of campaign suggestions by Kane that now-Gov. Tom Corbett may have dragged his feet on the Sandusky investigation for political reasons while he was attorney general.

Yesterday’s report, prepared by former federal prosecutor Geoff Moulton, said there was no such evidence. But Moulton did outline a series of mistakes and miscommunications related to the Sandusky case that slowed down the investigation.

A big concern for prosecutors early on with Sandusky was the fact they originally had only one victim. There were concerns — no doubt legitimate — that testimony related to a single child abuse victim might not be successful in challenging someone such as Sandusky, who was well known and well respected in the State College community.

While that may have made a certain amount of sense at the time, in retrospect, the case could be made that this decision was in error. Had Sandusky been charged then, it may have prompted other victims to come forward. Then prosecutors would have had more evidence.

Another question swirling around the Sandusky matter has been whether or not the attorney general’s office under Corbett devoted sufficient resources to the investigation. Moulton said that while the pace of the probe picked up speed after Corbett left office and additional investigators took part, there is no indication the evidence that eventually surfaced had anything to do with the number of people looking at Sandusky.

In short, hindsight undoubtedly alters the perception of Sandusky. If people knew then what they know now, we’re sure the investigation would have been handled differently.

So we can now be treated to political shots back and forth. Kane, to justify the probe, will point to investigatory flaws. Republicans in turn are attacking Kane for launching her probe solely to justify a key theme of her campaign for attorney general.

Maybe some of these criticisms will stick. But for now, we presume the Jerry Sandusky saga won’t be much of a factor in this fall’s elections.

It will, however, stand as a tragedy and maybe an example for future prosecutors looking into such cases.

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