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Report: Missteps, delays abundant in Sandusky investigation

Updated: Monday, June 23 2014, 02:03 PM EDT

By: Marc Stempka

HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane released her office's report on the former attorney general's investigation of convicted children molester Jerry Sandusky, finding the three-year investigation took too long because of inexcusable delays, but found no evidence that politics played a role in the delays.

Kane and Special Deputy Attorney General H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. released the report at a news conference in Harrisburg Monday morning. During the more than hour press conference and question-and-answer session, both talked through the more than 150 page report, outlining the Sandusky investigation between 2008-2011.

Moulton, a former federal prosecutor, was brought on as a special investigator to look into the investigation in February 2013.

Kane said the key question with the report was determining why there was an apparent delay in charging Sandusky for crimes surrounding the sexual abuse of children. While answering the question, it was learned additional victims came forward in the fall of 2009, about a year after the AG's investigation began.

At the start of the Sandusky investigation in 2008, current Gov. Tom Corbett was the commonwealth's attorney general. He was elected first in 2004, reelected in 2008, and left the AG's office in 2010 after winning the gubernatorial race.

Another key question Kane posed with the review was the handling of the Sandusky investigation, and if politics played a role in the case's delay, specifically during the time when Corbett was running for governor.

The report found no evidence that politics played a role, but said the delays that were found were inexcusable.

"This report found no direct evidence, no email, no confession, no statement from anybody, indicating that they were told to slow this down because of politics," Kane said. "This report also shows long periods of inexcusable, and by inexcusable I mean even the parties involved couldn't offer an excuse for the delays and delays that quite honestly are unfathomable to most of us, why those delays took place, we don't have the answer to that."

The report concluded a number of delays were caused by communication problems within the attorney general's office during the years of the investigation. Those communication problems stemming from reports between investigating agencies, like the Centre and Clinton counties district attorney offices, the Pennsylvania State Police, Clinton County Children and Youth Services and a general lack of investigative progress during those three years.

Kane also said the way in which the Attorney General's Office decided to pursue the investigation may have also played a part in the delays, but said each attorney general's office decides an investigations course of action, and those differ from office to office.

Kane said in 2008 and 2009, investigators had one victim, a resident from Clinton County. He was identified as victim one during Sandusky's trial. He later revealed himself to be Aaron Fisher, a student at Central Mountain High School.

The report showed that with just the evidence found by investigators in the Fisher case, at least one AG prosecutor was prepared to proceed with an arrest, and even wrote a presentment outlining the case.

The report said Corbett and other prosecutors decided in 2009 that the Sandusky case would be brought before a statewide grand jury, with hopes of finding more victims.  The report concluded the involvement of a grand jury was one of the main issues with causing the three-year investigation.

Moulton said prosecutors also believed they didn't have enough evidence from Fisher's case to obtain a search warrant in 2008 and 2009 to search Sandusky's home.

Moulton said in the report that he disagreed with that decision, and that at the time there would have been sufficient evidence to obtain a search warrant. Kane said Sandusky could have been arrested at that time.

Kane said through her office's investigation, two additional victims were identified, stating they were abused by Sandusky in the fall of 2009. These cases occurred with the AG's investigation was ongoing, Kane said.

Kane declined to directly answer if those victims would have been abused would Sandusky have been arrested earlier than fall of 2009. Kane said both victims found in 2009 have declined to prosecute their cases at the present time.

Moulton said as more victims were found near the end of 2010 and into 2011, more resources were added to the case through the attorney general's office, and progress began to quickly pickup in the investigation.

When Corbett left the AG's office, Linda Kelly was appointed Attorney General and oversaw the remainder of the investigation and successful prosecution of Sandusky.

In March 2011, the story about a grand jury convening was reported in the media, first by the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

In November 2011, Sandusky was arrested and charged with child sexual abuse. He convicted on 45 counts in June 2012 and sentenced to 30- to 60-years in prison.

Moulton said despite the outcome of the investigation being successful, that doesn't mean the investigation was successful.

During the press conference, Kane thanked prosecutors and investigators who worked on the case, and didn't make any direct statements against Corbett.

Corbett released a statement following the report’s release, standing by his department’s investigation.

"As I have said many times, this investigation was conducted appropriately and timely.  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," Corbett said. "As made clear by the Moulton Report, this investigation was never about politics. It was always about the people victimized by this man."

Corbett said he appreciated Moulton's professional approach to the report.

"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." Corbett said. "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."

6 News is continuing to follow the details in this big story. Gary Sinderson will have additional reports on Monday's report release beginning on 6 News at 5.

Report: Missteps, delays abundant in Sandusky investigation


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