Focus on the facts
Gov. Tom Corbett, former state attorney general, says he is not worried about the impending inquiry by the incoming attorney general into his handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case.
Kathleen Kane, the attorney general-elect from Lackawanna County, said last week that she will hire a special deputy attorney general to conduct the investigation. There is a great deal to consider, especially why nearly three years passed from the beginning of the investigation to Mr. Sandusky's arrest in November 2011.
In a meeting Thursday with The Times-Tribune editorial board, Mr. Corbett said his only concern was thoroughness. Rather than investigating the original complaint in 2008 and arresting Mr. Sandusky to get him off the street, Mr. Corbett took the matter to a grand jury. The governor noted that Mr. Sandusky is in prison, and claimed that is partially due to use of the grand jury to find more victims and evidence.
But the investigation would have continued even with an arrest, and it is not uncommon for the publicity of such an arrest to spur other victims to come forward.
Mr. Sandusky is in prison, most likely for life, and three Penn State University administrators await trial for their alleged roles in failing to stop Mr. Sandusky's abuse of boys.
Ms. Kane's inquiry also should address how the inquiry came to settle on the Penn State aspect of it alone. Most of the victims were connected to Mr. Sandusky through the Second Mile, his now-defunct charity, rather than through Penn State. Yet no one from the Second Mile, or from a school to which Aaron Fisher, "Victim No. 1," first reported the abuse, has been held responsible.
There are high-stakes political overtones to the inquiry. Ms. Kane made it a principal issue of her ground-breaking campaign. Mr. Corbett, whose handling of the matter has cost him some support among the vast Penn State alumni community, since has launched an antitrust suit against the NCAA for its novel sanctions against the Penn State football program. The suit is warranted - the sanctions are draconian and beyond the NCAA's legitimate authority - but many Pennsylvanians suspect a political motive.
Because of the politics and deep emotions over the astounding cascade of events flowing from the Sandusky investigation, it is crucial that Ms. Kane find someone truly nonpartisan, with impeccable credentials, to conduct the inquiry. Facts are the only salve for the many deep wounds the scandal has inflicted on the commonwealth.