Last week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane presented the Moulton Report, an “investigation of the investigation” of the Penn State Scandal by former Attorney Generals Tom Corbett and Linda Kelly.
Geoffrey Moulton, an experienced federal prosecutor, and associate professor at Widener Law,1 produced, after a fairly long delay, a comprehensive review of the investigation. It was quite good, though I don’t agree with some of his conclusions, I do agree that they investigators of the day should have tried, at least, to a search warrant for Sandusky’s residence earlier. Mr. Moulton deserves a lot of credit for a thorough report, an apolitical one in a charged political climate. So does the person who hired him, Ms. Kane.
The report is here, and it is exceptionally well documented: http://filesource.abacast.com/commonwealthofpa/mp4_podcast/2014_06_23_REPORT_to_AG_ON_THE_SANDUSKY_INVESTIGATION.pdf
In the press conference announcing the report, Ms. Kane claimed that two victims had been molested by Sandusky during the course of the Corbett/Kelly investigation and were not prosecuted. There some problems with that. First, the Moulton Report didn’t say that. Second, it apparently was not true. One of these victims was Victim 9, who was prosecuted; his abuse at hands of Sandusky ended before the case was forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office. The second had credibility problems, which does happen, and the prosecutors could not go to court.2 There was also a third victim, that the police talked to in 2009, but denied that Sandusky had done anything improper; he contacted the Attorney General’s Office in June of 2012 and admitted that he had been molested.3
So we had Ms. Kane publicly saying, falsely, that two more victims were assaulted by Jerry Sandusky during a slow investigation. It took her office two days to correct that, but only after howls from both law enforcement personnel involved in the investigation and the Press. Ms. Kane, instead of emphasizing her good judgment in hiring Mr. Moulton, metaphorically shot from the hip, and hit herself in the foot.
This is not the first time that Ms. Kane done this, even this year. There was the case of not charging four state representatives from Philadelphia accused of taking gifts from a lobbyist, blaming Frank Fina, a former prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office who prosecuted Sandusky, and with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Her decision not to prosecute brought howls of protest from the Press and from Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, who has a “D” after his name. This reached a low point, for Ms. Kane, when she showed up the offices of the Philadelphia Inquirer with famed lawyer Richard Spague.4 I do not recall a time when a sitting Pennsylvania Attorney General had to bring a lawyer to a newspaper interview, and I actually the Attorney General who plead guilty and resigned. The editor of the admittedly conservative Tribune-Review,Colin McNickle, “incomprehensibly stupid.”5 A more liberal senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, Will Bunch wrote, “…Kane took a bad situation and made it completely intolerable.”6
In short, Ms. Kane has some political problems. There are hers, and are not transferred to those people in the office, who seem to know what they are doing. I have a modest proposal that might help her politically. It involves the case I normally write about, the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar.
The Gricar case is now with the Pennsylvania State Police, which is a good thing. For years before that, there had been calls for the case to be turned over to the Attorney General’s Office.7 Ms. Kane should conduct parallel investigation at the Attorney General’s Office and conduct it personally.
There is the possibility that Mr. Gricar left of his own free will. Slovenia, where he has distant relatives, has been suggested, to the extent that Bellefonte Police Department translated the missing person’s flyer into Slovenian. Some friends, Steve Sloane in particular, have suggested that he wanted to visit European battlefields.8 After starting the investigation, should immediately fly to Europe and start searching.
Now, this could several advantages. Ms. Kane would immediately be seen to have been doing more than her predecessors, Mr. Corbett and Ms. Kelly, in regard to the Gricar case. From what I’ve read, Slovenia, in the summer, is quite nice, with great food, including lobster risotto, and excellent wines.9 The winters can be brutal, but maybe she can search on the French and Italian Riviera then; Mr. Gricar might just be wintering there. He was known for shopping in antiques stores, and would expect there are many antique stores all across Europe. She could try those. Battlefields, and many places of historical interest? Mr. Gricar was interested in those, so Ms. Kane might want to check those out.
Now, because this would be an investigation, it would probably be necessary to keep a low profile; Ms. Kane would have to travel incommunicado. Once there, she could not be talking to the media until after she finds Mr. Gricar. Besides, a press gaggle probably couldn’t afford to tag along. She could stay there until her term ends.
The office, with a professional staff, can continue to function. As she was not directly involved in the “investigation of the investigation,” it seems that without her, and with the staff in place, there should be no problem.
I would, with my knowledge of the Gricar case, love to help her out in this European search, as a paid staff assistant. However, I don’t have a passport, so I really couldn’t do it. Besides, I’m allergic to lobster.
Whatever the result, this modest proposition it is a political win-win for her. Here is why:
A. If she finds Mr. Gricar, Ms. Kane solves a perplexing mystery that has bedeviled Central Pennsylvania for more than nine years. That would be quite a feather in her cap.
B. If she doesn’t find Mr. Gricar, well at Ms. Kane would have tried. That is more than her two predecessors in the Attorney Generalship.
C. If she doesn’t come back, she won’t be missed.
3 Moulton Report, p. 52
[Author’s note: I am certainly one of the few people on the planet that adds footnotes to satire.]
Centre Daily Times Ray Gricar Section: http://www.centredaily.com/138/
Link to the Main Index for Sporadic Comments on Ray Gricar: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/03/21/2597340/main-index-32011.html
E-mail J. J. in Phila at email@example.com