Penn State

‘Time-consuming challenges’ slow Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s review of Jerry Sandusky investigation

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s review of her predecessors’ investigation of Jerry Sandusky has been slowed by unforeseen issues of recovering emails, and the report will need judicial approval before it can be released, the prosecutor said Wednesday.

Kane’s remarks came in a written statement one year after she appointed H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. to probe why it took three years to investigate and charge Sandusky, a question that was focal point of her campaign and resulted in a landslide victory in 2012.

Moulton has been investigating how previous attorneys general Tom Corbett, who is now governor, and Linda Kelly handled investigating abuse allegations against Sandusky from 2009 to 2011. Kane said Moulton does not have subpoena power but has interviewed a “wide range of witnesses.”

“The release of the review findings will be determined only by the time necessary to complete a comprehensive review,” said Kane, who’s never committed herself to a firm date of when the long-awaited, high-interest report would be released. “Pennsylvanians deserve the full and true story, and I will not permit a rush to judgment to interfere with a thorough review.”

Kane said a few factors have slowed the investigation, and among the most “significant and time-consuming challenges” were getting written documents, particularly emails in the system of the Office of the Attorney General. She said she thought emails from the time period in question had been permanently removed, but since then, she has been able to start a process to recover them.

Kane did not elaborate on the reasons behind the delays getting the documentation, though she said that would be described with more detail in the report.

Another reason for the delay has to do with the grand jury, which has heard matters that will be in the report but are not yet public. Kane said she will need to have the grand jury judge approve the release of the report because it would contain those secret matters.

In addition, the report will not be released until people who are discussed in it can review and comment on the parts that pertain to them, Kane said. She said she is affording them that opportunity out of “due process and fairness.”

Kane said she hopes to take care of that part quickly, but she did not give any indication which people are identified in the report and she said her office will not discuss the report until it is released.

Kane had been tight-lipped about the investigation and said periodic updates would come only if the public needs to know about something. Kane said Wednesday’s update was appropriate now that the investigation is pushing the one-year mark.

The investigation into Sandusky’s abuse started when a teen, Aaron Fisher, told Clinton County authorities in January 2009 that the former Penn State coach had touched him inappropriately. The case was referred to Centre County’s then-district attorney, Michael Madeira, who referred it to the state attorney general.

Corbett, as attorney general, launched the investigation in March 2009 and used the grand jury to hear testimony in secret from a number of witnesses, including the young men who later were described in the presentment that outlined the charges against Sandusky in November 2011.

Corbett handed off the investigation to Kelly, who was appointed attorney general after he became governor in January 2011.

Kane previously questioned the use of the grand jury, saying it would have been better to have trained investigators and prosecutors investigate instead of everyday people on the grand jury.

Corbett has defended the investigation and has pointed to Sandusky’s conviction in June 2012 as evidence it worked.

Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison and is serving his time in solitary confinement. His lawyer is pursuing an appeal of his conviction.