Sandusky Investigation Botched Under Pa. Gov. Corbett

Thursday, 26 Jul 2012 02:44 PM

By Chris Freind

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Speaking before the world’s press, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said, “When it comes to the safety of children, there can be . . . no hesitation to act.”
That’s the pot calling the kettle black.

It is Corbett himself who is most guilty of hesitating. Hesitating as then-attorney general to appropriately staff the Jerry Sandusky investigation, and hesitating for years to make an arrest, both of which jeopardized children. That hesitation, and Corbett’s stonewalling, has created an intense firestorm.

If Corbett doesn’t come forward with answers soon, it promises to be the biggest issue in his 2014 re-election campaign.

Last week, the governor responded to Freindly Fire’s Open Letter, which had requested specifics. But rather than answering, his response raised more red flags.

It stated, “Grand juries take time. Evidence in decades-old molestations must be reassembled. Where does Mr. Freind think that decade's worth of evidence came from? It had to be gathered, reluctant witness-by-reluctant witness, with accompanying corroborating evidence.”

Absolutely correct, and precisely the point. Corbett is admitting this case required atremendous amount of work. So why were so few investigating it?

Bottom line: the Sandusky investigation took three years, was first staffed by a single investigator, and then headed by two narcotics agents, neither of whom had any child-molestation case experience. Compare to this to the army of investigators Corbett used in the Bonusgate political corruption probe, including, sources say, agents from child-predator units.

It seems logical that there can be only one of two explanations:

1. Politics:
Sullying the reputation of the state’s largest university and taking down its legendary football coach would be a monumental challenge to any candidate running for governor, particularly for Corbett, since his opponent was a PSU alumnus.

And those alumni just donated much of the $208 million the university raised this year.

So was the understaffed investigation dragged out in such a fashion that the arrests were not made until after the 2010 gubernatorial election?

2. Priorities:

Or was the Sandusky case mishandled because Corbett did not prioritize child predators?

If politics played no role, then Corbett prioritized corrupt politicians over taking a serial child rapist off the street. One can only wonder how many more victims Sandusky molested while under investigation.

The quotes are quite telling.

Randy Feathers, the head of the AG’s Narcotics Office who eventually headed the investigation, stated, "During the Bonusgate investigation, we had a shortage of investigators in Harrisburg."

Corbett was obviously proud that he pulled no one from Bonusgate, saying, “We used a completely different unit from Bonusgate . . . (the Sandusky agents) were pure narcotic investigators from that region.”

And Corbett admitted worrying that Sandusky could still be victimizing boys during the lengthy investigation, stating, “It was a calculated risk.”

So Corbett knew the risk, yet decided that investigating a monster was worthy of only two investigators.

More telling is that, upon becoming governor, Corbett ordered state police to the case. Why wasn’t that done before? The question is whether Corbett ever requested assistance from then-Gov. Ed Rendell, himself a former prosecutor. It’s not a trick question, requiring just a yes or no answer.

Did Corbett ask the feds for assistance, especially if resources were denied byRendell and no one could be pulled from Bonusgate?

If the answers are in the negative, as they appear to be, what were Corbett’s motives in staying with a bare-boned investigative staff?

No one suggests that Sandusky should have been arrested before gathering evidence. Several cases could have been assembled before an arrest, and numerous prosecutors with no ax to grind stated that to be a viable strategy.

Once an arrest was made, with the spotlight on Sandusky, more witnesses would come forward. Sandusky would then have been closely watched, and children would have been safe. But that didn’t happen.

Instead, a predator was given three more years to possibly victimize more.
No wonder the governor doesn’t want to answer. So the stonewalling continues.

Corbett also failed to answer other questions, including why he did not consider it a conflict of interest to serve on Penn State’s Board of Trustees while investigating it, and why he approved a $3 million taxpayer grant to Sandusky’s Second Mile charity when he could have simply done nothing or vetoed it.

The latter is particularly compelling since $640,000 in campaign contributions were made from Second Mile board members and affiliates to Corbett’s attorney general and gubernatorial races.

The Open Letter received an astounding national response from across the political spectrum, with a common theme: Why so much hesitation by Corbett? Rather than invoking “space aliens,” as he did, Corbett would be better served by coming clean with the truth.

The best place to start? Answer the questions. And the truth shall set you free.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Friendly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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