Our View | Time to investigate the Jerry Sandusky investigation

January 13, 2013 

Kathleen Kane will take the oath of office as Pennsylvania’s attorney general on Tuesday.

The very next day, she says, she will launch an investigation into the office’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky case over several years, including the role of now-governor Tom Corbett when he was the attorney general.

Corbett has been accused of delaying the Sandusky case to avoid negative publicity when he was running for governor.

Kane will be looking to determine if that contention is valid, in addition to providing an over-arching review of the state’s child-abuse investigation.

We urge her to move quickly and dig deep to learn all that she can about how the Sandusky investigation unfolded, resulting in the grand jury presentment against the former Penn State assistant football coach in November 2011.

In an interview with the Centre Daily Times this week, she reiterated that the Sandusky case will be a top priority.

As much as anything, it was the pledge to learn more about the Sandusky case that got her elected last fall.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned,” she promised.

“We’ll go wherever it leads,” she said, calling the effort “an investigation into the investigation.”

During her campaign, Kane was especially critical of the pace of the case, first under Corbett and then under his appointed successor, Linda Kelly, once Corbett was elected governor in 2010.

Kane said she has no plans to bring in a grand jury for her inquiry, as was done with Sandusky two years ago, in part because she believes that would drag out the effort.

One of her criticisms of the Sandusky has been that it took too long and left the ex-coach free until the presentment was completed.

“Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile and needed to be taken off the streets,” Kane said.

She said she will name a deputy attorney general to oversee the probe, and that person will work directly and only for the attorney general’s office.

That individual will be tasked with reviewing all evidence -- including transcripts, police reports, statements and other information -- linked to the Sandusky case.

And Kane scoffed at Corbett’s suggestion this week that she go outside her office to find independent legal help with the probe.

“I am an independent prosecutor,” Kane said.

One thing Kane won’t have to tackle as attorney general is the state’s new lawsuit against the NCAA that calls for the reversal of sanctions against Penn State.

The attorney general’s office turned over jurisdiction of the lawsuit to the governor, who took the action operating on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania.

Kane said: “It’s off my plate.”

She will have plenty on her plate beginning Tuesday, including addressing issues such as consumer protection, drugs, gun crime, child safety and public corruption – all elements of her campaign platform.

She also must now take over the state’s perjury and failure-to-report cases against former Penn State administrators Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Graham Spanier.

We liked Kane’s experience, intellect and grit as well as her goals for the office when we interviewed her last fall – so much so that we strongly endorsed her for attorney general.

Beginning this week, she must follow through on her campaign promises, including her pledge to investigate fully the Sandusky case.

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