Our View | Attorney General Kathleen Kane should push Penn State-related investigations

August 3, 2013 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane meets with the Centre Daily Times editorial board on Wednesday.

CHRISTOPHER WEDDLE — CDT photo Buy Photo

  • On the web

    Go to www.centredaily.com to watch a video of Kathleen Kane’s visit to the Centre Daily Times.

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane has pledged to vigorously pursue all threads of the Jerry Sandusky story, including the legal case against former top Penn State officials and her investigation into the initial handling of allegations against the ex-assistant football coach.

We urge her to chase all angles with relentlessness.

In a meeting Wednesday at the Centre Daily Times, Kane said: “Where it goes, that’s where we’ll take it.”

She was speaking specifically about the probe of the first Sandusky investigation, which was launched by the Attorney General’s Office when now-Gov. Tom Corbett was in that office.

That effort led to Sandusky’s eventual conviction on 45 counts of child sex abuse under Kane’s predecessor, Linda Kelly.

Although she would not be held to a timetable, Kane promises to take the “investigation of the investigation” all the way to its full conclusion, and then make her findings public.

Corbett has been accused of delaying the effort because he was running for governor. When campaigning for AG last year, Kane questioned why Sandusky wasn’t charged sooner, and she said she received considerable encouragement to look into the case — including from the more than 3 million voters who put her in office.

“We don’t believe the public feels they got all of the facts,” she said.

We agree, and would extend that sentiment to every element of what happened in our region over many years, leading to a scandal, legal action and harsh NCAA sanctions against Penn State.

We urge Kane to take the same approach to the upcoming trial of former Penn State president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley.

Will the trio eventually be convicted on charges including perjury and failure to report Sandusky’s crimes? That remains to be seen, but only a full exploration of the facts will bring justice — either way.

And we urge her to keep a spotlight shining on The Second Mile, the organization Sandusky founded to help troubled children that became his mechanism for targeting potential victims.

Kane would not confirm for us that there is an active investigation into the actions of individuals associated with The Second Mile.

We struggle to understand how that agency and its leaders have avoided the level of scrutiny that has been aimed at the university and the Penn State athletic department.

“I could never say there’s a level of culpability without knowing facts and whether they fit into the law,” Kane said of The Second Mile. “My opinion doesn’t matter, really. It’s all whether we have the facts to support anything.

“If we have the facts to support the law, then anybody should be held culpable for what they do. It doesn’t matter who they are, if it’s an organization or an individual. So specifically with that case, I can’t tell you whether we have an investigation or someone else (does), or whether the facts warrant it. ”

The ultimate goal, Kane said, is the truth. We agree.

“With this case, there are so many different moving parts to it,” she said. “And I love the fact that the public demands to know who had a hand in it, because they should.”

Kane said she holds Penn State in high regard, even as she chases the truth about what happened here.

“My heart goes out to the community,” she said. “… But we don’t make policy decisions based on emotions.”

There is much at stake as the office of the attorney general and other authorities continue to seek answers about all aspects of the Sandusky case.

We concur with her statement that such investigations are critical “not only because we want to see justice prevail, but because it makes us better. It makes us prosecute child abuse cases better. It makes children safer. It makes (people) better capable of reporting it. It makes sure the criminal goes to jail.”

As a community, we have been through a very challenging time.

But we must be open to the revelations still to come, even those that we might find troubling.

And we urge Kane to fulfill her promise to leave no stone unturned in all areas of this complicated situation.

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