Attorney General Kathleen Kane has backed off a statement she made Monday that two boys claiming they were sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky came forward after a state criminal investigation was underway.
Kane had said two individuals claimed they were abused in fall 2009, after Gov. Tom Corbett, then attorney general, had taken over the Sandusky case, and that the two were not among the 10 youths the former Penn State football coach was charged with — and eventually convicted of — abusing.
On Wednesday, Kane’s office released a statement confirming she had misspoken regarding one of the victims.
“We will confirm that one of the two individuals that alleged abuse by Sandusky into the fall of 2009, one was uncharged and reported abuse to OAG in 2012,” the Attorney General’s Office said in a short statement. “The other victim was not originally charged. We will not give any other identifying information to protect their privacy. It is imperative, as prosecutors, that we do not re-victimize individuals.”
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A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office did not return messages seeking additional comment.
A source with knowledge of the investigation said Kane’s statement referred to the young man known as Victim 9 from the Sandusky trial.
State police Commissioner Frank Noonan and Sandusky prosecutors Frank Fina and Randy Feathers have said they don’t know whom Kane was referring to, and that they know of no victims who fit the description the attorney general gave.
“I didn’t know what she was talking about,” Noonan said Wednesday. “We are part of the investigation. I checked with our investigators and they were unaware of two new victims.”
Fina went further, calling Kane’s claims a “fabrication.”
The Attorney General’s Office has released two short statements on the subject since Monday.
The first came Tuesday afternoon and appeared to support Kane’s statement about additional victims. It was co-signed by First Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer, Anthony Sassano, the office’s local regional director, and two others.
“It is absolutely true and factual that evidence exists of two individuals who allege they were victimized into the fall of 2009,” the statement said. “It is shameful for others to re-victimize these individuals by denying their existence.”
The second statement, released to the Centre Daily Times on Wednesday, backtracked from what Kane said in Harrisburg at a news conference she called to release her findings on how Corbett handled the Sandusky investigation.
Her investigator, H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. , concluded there were delays in pursuing the case, but that the delays were not politically motivated.
A central point in the report is that prosecutors might have been able to bring charges sooner if they had taken steps such as serving a search warrant for Sandusky’s home in 2009 after Victim 1 had come forward.
Prosecutors sought additional victims before charging Sandusky or serving the warrant because, in part, they were worried the testimony of a single boy might not be enough to convict Sandusky, who at the time was a community icon, they said.
Moulton’s 166-page report makes no mention of two victims who say they were abused in fall 2009, but Kane referenced them several times during Monday’s news conference, and fielded questions in the context of whether they would have been abused had Sandusky been charged earlier.
Fina, a deputy attorney general under Corbett who now works in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, was critical of Kane’s handling of the review, calling it “inappropriate for a host of reasons.”
The state police did not participate in the review in part over concerns of how it could affect ongoing cases against former top Penn State administrators Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who are awaiting trial on charges they covered up Sandusky’s abuse.
Sandusky, 70, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence after being convicted two years ago of sexually abusing 10 boys.