Kathleen Kane is the right choice for Pennsylvania attorney general because of her experience as a prosecutor and her willingness to fully investigate the Jerry Sandusky case.
We endorse Kane, a Democrat and Lackawanna County attorney, over her opponent David Freed, a Republican and the district attorney in Cumberland County.
We think she offers the best opportunity to fully understand how the Jerry Sandusky case was handled, especially during the time when Gov. Tom Corbett was in the Attorney Generals Office.
And she will bring a tough, focused approach to the offices handling of all types of criminal activity.
When speaking with our editorial board, Kane promised a full investigation into the investigation of Sandusky.
Kane, a former assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, said she wants to learn who knew what and when, and who was responsible for it.
In the Lackawanna district attorneys office, Kane specialized in child abuse and pledged to make that a higher priority in the Attorney Generals Office.
Her diverse experience also includes helping develop a task force to handle cases involving mentally ill suspects, prosecuting a judge accused of bilking money from elderly residents, and leading the process of creating task forces to tackle insurance fraud and automobile theft.
She has been tough on those who attack children and who steal from seniors. She was her countys first prosecutor to win a sexual assault conviction under the states No Means No law.
We found refreshing her criticism of an ad that attacked her opponent. She said the campaigns should be above such mudslinging. We agree.
Concerning the Sandusky case, while Kane promised a full investigation, Freed pledged a review of the case.
Corbett has been accused of delaying the Sandusky investigation so that it would not impact his run for governor.
Indeed, the 2012 attorney general election has been called a referendum on Corbetts handling of the Sandusky case.
Freed was unopposed in the Republican primary, while Kane defeated former Congressman Patrick Murphy on the Democratic side.
Kane called Freed Corbetts hand-picked successor, and herself an independent option to reopen the Sandusky matter.
If anybody needs to be held accountable, we will let the public know, she said.
Given the many questions residents of the state and especially our region have about how the case was handled from 2008 to 2010 under Corbett, we think hers is the better approach.
Freed lauded the handling of the Sandusky investigation by the Attorney Generals Office under both Corbett and Linda Kelly, who was appointed to the office and took over the case after Corbett was elected governor in 2010. Kelly agreed not to run for a full term as attorney general when appointed.
Freed agrees with Corbetts decision to have a grand jury investigate the Sandusky allegations. He pointed to factors including a lack of physical evidence and the presence of a high-profile defendant a former Penn State assistant football coach as making for a complicated case that supported the decision to bring in a grand jury.
Kane said the Attorney Generals Office should have handled the probe itself and should have put all possible resources necessary on the case, including investigators with extensive backgrounds in child sexual abuse, which Corbett did not do.
She said the case should not have taken 33 months to achieve charges against Sandusky, and argued that Corbett could have worked harder and faster to get a predator off the street.
Freed pointed to Sanduskys conviction on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse and his prison sentence of 30 to 60 years as evidence that the outcome of the investigation was positive.
The proof is in the pudding, Freed told us.
Both Freed and Kane have solid prosecution backgrounds. Both pledge to work closely with county and local law enforcement agencies providing resources at times of demanding cases or moments of possible conflict of interest.
Kane pledged to push the legislature to remove the statute of limitations on child sexual assault in Pennsylvania.
Both candidates promised to tackle cyber crime, especially involving children, and to work to protect seniors from fraud.
Freed said he would put emphasis on reducing the prevalence of synthetic drugs through both legal action and education.
In short, we think both candidates have the experience, smarts and desire to be successful in the attorney generals office.
We think either could handle the basic daily duties that come with that office.
But much more is at stake in this race, and we hope voters in Centre County are paying close attention to this political showdown.
Kathleen Kane has the experience to be a strong attorney general, and is the best choice to dig into the Sandusky case and provide a complete and meaningful assessment of Corbetts actions or inaction during the states investigation of Jerry Sandusky.