Incoming attorney general Kathleen Kane commits to thorough review of Sandusky investigation

mdawson@centredaily.comJanuary 12, 2013 

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    Priorities for Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane, in addition to the Sandusky investigation review, are:

    • Work to remove the statute of limitations both civilly and criminal for mandatory reporting of child abuse • Strengthen the child predator’s unit • Make children’s advocacy centers more accessible in the state • Reduce street crime and consumer fraud

The first full day of work for Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane next week will mark the start of the review of why it took her predecessors three years to investigate Jerry Sandusky.

In a phone interview with the Centre Daily Times on Friday, Kane said the probe, which she promised on the campaign trail and parlayed into a victory in November, is one of her top priorities as she takes over the post as the state’s top law enforcement authority. And everything — grand jury transcripts, evidence, media leaks, police reports and more — will be reviewed by someone working solely on it.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned, and we will do it in a timely manner,” said Kane, a former prosecutor in Lackawanna County. “I’m not taking anything off of the table. There isn’t anyone we aren’t going to talk to if they have relevant information, and there isn’t any area that I’m going to avoid.

“We are going to look at this story as a whole, whenever that leads.”

Kane’s swearing-in is Tuesday afternoon in Harrisburg.

Kane will hire a deputy attorney general whose job it will be to lead the internal Sandusky investigation, and that person will report to her. The deputy attorney general has not been selected yet.

Kane has been critical of Tom Corbett, who as attorney general started the investigation and then handed it off to his predecessor, Attorney General Linda Kelly, after he was elected governor. Kane called the grand jury approach “questionable,” saying that process takes a long time and, in the Sandusky case, the child sex abuse allegations were investigated by a grand jury of laypeople instead of trained prosecutors and investigators.

Kane defended her choice to have the investigation done by her office after Corbett, in an interview Thursday with the Scranton Times-Tribune, said an outside firm should help with the internal investigation because of the vast amount of work it will be.

Kane said she has no plans at this time to use the grand jury for the internal investigation.

“So far that is not what my intention is,” she said.

Kane said the findings of the investigation will be made available to the public when it is finished. She does not expect periodic reports unless there is a pressing issue the public needs to know about.

Frank Fina, one of two prosecutors at Sandusky’s trial, will not be with Kane’s office. He said he is resigning, effective Jan. 18.

The other prosecutor, Joseph E. McGettigan III, is not sure what he will do, he said on Thursday after a Sandusky court hearing.

The prosecution in the Tim Curley and Gary Schultz perjury and failure-to-report trial will remain the same, she said. Bruce Beemer, who served as Kelly’s chief of staff, will stay on as general counsel.

Kane said there is nothing she can do about Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA to reverse the sanctions it imposed on Penn State, like the $60 million fine, a post-season bowl ban and scholarship reductions. Her predecessor Kelly approved delegating its litigation to an outside law firm.

Kane said she thinks the fine money should stay inside Pennsylvania, as local lawmakers and victims advocates have long sought. But, “I’m not there to get in involved in politics or give personal opinion,” she said.

“We’ll have to see what the courts decide.”

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