HARRISBURG — Lead investigators in the Jerry Sandusky case took strong exception to the report issued Monday of Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Special Deputy AG H. Geoffrey Moulton, offering corrections of “errors of fact and unsupported assertions and conclusions.”
Responses also came in from Gov. Tom Corbett, who was the attorney general at the start of the Sandusky probe, and Col. Frank Noonan, of Clarks Summit, now commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police and a former AG investigator.
The main question raised in the Attorney General’s review was whether the Sandusky investigation centered on unexplained delays in the process and whether the delays were politically motivated, since Corbett was planning a run for the governor’s office.
At a new conference Monday, Kane, of Scranton, came under fire after she revealed that two additional alleged victims of Sandusky came forward after the case came to the AG’s Office, then headed by Corbett.
Kane said the additional alleged claims of abuse by Sandusky, now 70, might not have occurred had the investigation been handled differently than she would have handled it.Had Sandusky been incarcerated, she said, “Of course there wouldn’t have been more victims.”
Those comments drew the ire of Randy P. Feathers and the other members of the investigative team that handled the Sandusky case.
“Nobody on the investigative team has any knowledge of what she (Kane) is talking about regarding two additional victims,” Feathers said. “And none of that is mentioned in her report, nor did Mr. Moulton ask anybody about these two alleged victims.”
Feathers called Kane’s statements “political grandstanding” and that Kane and Moulton lost credibility.
There were many questions directed to Kane after her revelation of two more alleged victims, but the news conference ended abruptly when Kane said she had to get to another pressing matter.
It was not known if Kane’s assertion about more victims was taken from grand jury testimony, which Feathers said, would be a potential violation. He said the grand jury judges would have to make that call.
The alleged victims came forward in the fall of 2009, Kane said, several months after Corbett’s office initiated the investigation of Sandusky. Kane said “inexplicable delays” slowed the investigation and might have allowed Sandusky to assault additional victims.
Kane declined to discuss the allegations in detail.
“Because Sandusky is in jail, there were also victims we found who were not found previously,” Kane said. “Those victims have indicated that because he is in jail and the appeal went well for the Office of the Attorney General, they do not wish to prosecute at this time.”
Feathers said he and the others on the prosecution team have “no idea” what Kane is talking about.
Corbett, a Republican, is seeking reelection in November against Democrat Tom Wolf. Kane is a Democrat.
Regarding the report
The five investigators — Feathers, William H. Ryan, Jr., Richard A. Sheets, Jr., Frank G. Fina, and Joseph E. McGettigan — claim the Kane-Moulton report refutes previous criticism of the investigation, such as:
• That Sandusky should have been charged earlier.
• That Sandusky should not have been investigated through the use of a grand jury.
• That the investigation was slowed or hindered by some kind of political conspiracy.
• That charges should have been filed solely upon them first victim who reported abuse.
• That the investigative efforts and resources were somehow inadequate or insufficient.
In their concluding remarks, the investigators/prosecutors said they acted as a team in pursuing the truth about Sandusky. They said they faced significant challenges not included in the AG’s report.
“This investigation was commenced against an individual (Sandusky) who was an icon to many and even deified by some,” the response states.
It notes Sandusky was a prominent figure in Penn State football and was founder of a multi-million-dollar charity.
The response notes that when the AG’s office received the case, there was “not the slightest hint that any child protective services in Pennsylvania had ever previously detected an issue with Sandusky, despite his 30-year involvement with at-risk children.”
The investigators also noted that during the Sandusky investigation they were involved with other important cases, including murders, drug cases and political corruption cases.
“Indeed, the Office of Attorney General during these years was arguably more productive than at any other time,” the response states. “The Sandusky investigative efforts also occurred in years in which our resources were constantly subject to cuts and limitations and this group of public servants, instead of succumbing to these challenges, chose to do more with less. And we did.”
The respondents state they feel the citizens of Pennsylvania are “far more interested in results than in attempts to second-guess and finely sift for criticisms.”
Commissioner Noonan said since the Sandusky investigation resulted in a successful prosecution and conviction, a review like this is difficult to justify.
“On behalf of the PSP, I stand proudly behind its members who investigated these crimes, which led to the successful conviction and a minimum incarceration of 30 years for Mr. Sandusky,” Noonan said.
Noonan called the report an “inappropriate approach to reform,” marked by second-guessinginvestigative decisions while criminal cases remain active and pending. He said this does not mean that the state police is unwilling to learn from the 16-month Sandusky investigation and has taken steps to effect change in child abuse investigations.
Noonan said Kane’s comments of additional victims not addressed in her own report “puts everyone in a difficult spot.”
In a prepared statement, Corbett said the Sandusky investigation was conducted with a single purpose: to ensure justice for the victims and families by taking a child predator off the streets.
“Nothing more. Nothing less,” Corbett said in the release. “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. 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 it was difficult to see the investigators’ motives and professionalism called in to question. He 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,” Corbett said.