Governor met with investigator over Sandusky case
HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett met with a special prosecutor investigating his handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case while he was attorney general and why it took so long to bring charges against the former Penn State assistant football coach.
The Republican governor’s communications director, Lynn Lawson, told the Associated Press Friday the meeting was earlier this week, but she declined to disclose other details.
The investigation into how the Sandusky case was handled has its roots in Kathleen Kane’s successful 2012 campaign to become the first Democrat and the first woman to be elected Pennsylvania’s attorney general. During the campaign, she repeatedly questioned why it took nearly three years for charges to be filed against Sandusky.
In February 2013, Kane appointed Widener Law School professor and former federal prosecutor Geoff Moulton to lead an investigation. Moulton did not return a phone message, and Kane’s spokesman declined to address Corbett’s interview.
Corbett is running for a second term this year, and Moulton’s report, no matter its findings, is certain to become fodder for both sides on the campaign trail in the coming months.
The Sandusky criminal investigation began while Corbett was serving as attorney general and continued through 2010, the year Corbett made his run for governor. Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, a year after Corbett’s election.
The governor has cited the successful prosecution of Sandusky as proof the state investigation was effective and strongly denied suggestions that he didn’t want the investigation to become public while he was campaigning for governor.
He said early on he would likely meet with Moulton, but he suggested Kane’s probe was politically motivated.
“Anybody can come in and sit down and Monday morning quarterback decisions, OK? But for a true investigation, there has to be some criminal act. I know I didn’t commit any criminal act. None, zero,” he said in late 2012.
Washington native Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse of 10 boys and is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence in SCI-Greene.
During testimony at Sandusky’s criminal trial in June 2012, an investigator with the attorney general’s office, Anthony Sassano, said the case began in late 2008 when a state trooper interviewed a young man from Lock Haven who was one of Sandusky’s victims.
Sassano said the case was turned over to state prosecutors in early 2009, after the local prosecutor raised a conflict of interest, and a grand jury began to take testimony that summer. An anonymous tip to the district attorney in the State College area alerted investigators that former assistant coach Mike McQueary may have information in the matter and Sandusky was put under surveillance, Sassano said.
“It was a daunting task to try to get others to come forward,” Sassano said on the stand, noting the nature of the abuse the victims suffered.
Investigators obtained lists of boys who participated in events through a charity for children Sandusky founded, identified boys in photos from Sandusky’s autobiography, “Touched,” and searched his home and a storage facility at Penn State, Sassano said.
The Patriot-News reported on the existence of the grand jury investigation at the end of March 2011. About seven months later, the attorney general’s office filed criminal molestation charges against Sandusky and charged athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz with perjury and other offenses for an alleged criminal cover-up. Similar charges were filed later against former Penn State president Graham Spanier.
Charges against the three former Penn State administrators are pending. All three deny the allegations.
Kane announced in February that Moulton’s investigation had taken longer than expected because of a time-consuming process to retrieve emails that were thought to have been permanently deleted when the man who briefly succeeded Corbett as attorney general, Bill Ryan, approved a new record retention policy.