More questions than answers
An exhaustive inquiry into the handling of the infamous Jerry Sandusky case didn't resolve why the criminal investigation of a high-profile pedophile dragged on for three years.
The investigation of the retired Penn State football coach began when Tom Corbett was attorney general and ended after he was elected governor. But as the investigative report and Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Monday, the inquiry produced "no direct evidence" that the investigation slowed to a crawl due to any political consideration regarding Mr. Corbett.
So, remaining unexplained is the decision within the attorney general's office to leave a suspected pedophile on the street despite credible evidence that could have been used to make an arrest.
Ms. Kane claimed that two of Mr. Sandusky's alleged victims, who were not involved in the prosecution that resulted in his conviction, have told the attorney general's office that they were abused in 2009 as the investigation dragged on.
Special Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Moulton, who was hired by Ms. Kane to conduct the inquiry, concluded that the attorney general's office acted within the bounds of "prosecutorial discretion" in handling the Sandusky case, but that is a low bar to meet.
Ms. Kane, who specialized in such cases while an assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, clearly was on the mark when she said that most prosecutors would have sought to get a suspected pedophile off the street as soon as they had actionable evidence.
And as noted by Mr. Moulton, abundant research shows that pedophiles are much more likely than other criminals to continue their criminal conduct when they know that they are under investigation.
The office chose to use an "investigative" grand jury, but such a body doesn't actually investigate. Investigators do that work and bring their findings to the grand jury. Yet in 2010, the gubernatorial election year, the grand jury issued just a single subpoena - hardly an aggressive pace of investigation.
A state investigator wanted to get a search warrant for Mr. Sandusky's house in mid 2009, but the office did not do so until mid 2011, when it found evidence that could have been used earlier. And in March 2010, prosecutor Jonelle Eshback wanted to arrest Mr. Sandusky but did not hear back from her superiors until that August, when they told her to try to find more victims.
Mr. Sandusky ultimately was convicted and sentenced to a long prison term, under the investigative course taken by the attorney general's office. But many other pedophiles also are serving such sentences due to prosecutors acting much more quickly on their cases.
Regardless of there being no direct evidence of political manipulation of the investigation, Ms. Kane's assessment that their were "inexcusable delays" is a fair one.