Citizen activist Gene Stilp has joined a growing chorus urging the U.S. Justice Department to take over the state’s investigation into child sex abuse allegations against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and charges of a cover-up by university officials.
Stilp filed a three-page complaint this week with the Justice Department requesting an investigation into the allegations and a review of the state’s probe, which has come under fire from state leaders and ethics experts for its length and for a potential conflict of interest involving Gov. Tom Corbett’s roles as attorney general, governor and ex-officio university trustee.
Stilp outlined his concern about the length of the investigation, which commenced more than two years before Sandusky’s Nov. 5 arrest, on the first page of his petition, citing an “apparent sense among the public” of time delays and a “lack of personnel and resources assigned to the case” by Corbett.
A lone state trooper was assigned to the case for the first 15 months of the Sandusky investigation before the attorney general’s office added its own agents in the fall of 2010. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, the former chief investigator for the attorney general’s office, added seven more investigators when he took office in January 2011.
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“It has become apparent that many feel that (Sandusky) could have been removed from the public years sooner than has actually occurred,” Stilp wrote in his petition. “The question that many ask is if any crimes could have been prevented and children saved by a more aggressive investigation and prosecution during that part of the state investigation.”
“This whole thing is turning into a picnic for conspiracy theorists,” said Corbett’s spokesman, Kevin Harley. “The fact is, the governor as attorney general initiated this case and did so following careful guidelines. Mr. Stilp’s call comes from a man who enjoys publicity more than he enjoys credibility.”