A comprehensive review of the lengthy investigation into convicted child molester and former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky says state prosecutors and police took too long to bring the man to justice.
The several hundred page report released on Monday morning by Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane found "crucial missteps and inexplicable delays" kept the serial molester from being arrested and charged for his crimes.
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It took prosecutors a year to recommend filing charges against Sandusky, an assistant coach with the venerable college football program led by Coach Joe Paterno, because basic tactics like interviewing him or searching his home were not performed, the report found.
An eventual search of Sandusky's State College house, where some of the victims were molested, uncovered several pieces of evidence including photographs of the victims and lists of campers, some with asterisks next to their names, attending his at-risk youth camp The Second Mile, according to the report. Moulton said some of the highlighted children on the list turned out to be victims.
Investigators also said prosecutors could have used this evidence to find victims years earlier.
Sandusky was first investigated in 2009, but wasn't arrested until November 2011. He was later found guilty of sexually assaulting 10 boys over long-periods of time and is serving a 30-to-60-year prison sentence. Three Penn State administrators were also charged with covering up the crimes. Their cases are pending.
The review, led by Special Deputy Attorney General H. Geoffrey Moulton, Jr., also found senior state prosecutors dragged their feet for five months once charges were recommended based on the testimony of Victim 1. Jonelle Eshbach, the lead prosecutor investigating the case, was eventually told more victims would be needed to bring forth the case.
"The case sat inactive for months while a predator was on the streets and a victim waited for justice," Kane said of the findings. She called for the review after taking office in 2013. "The Grand Jury presentment, drafted and supported by the lead prosecutor, sat on someone's desk for five months...It is unfathomable why there was such a lack of urgency."
Investigators said there is no direct evidence that top brass in the AG's office forced the delays, but Kane said that there are serious questions about the "lack of urgency."
Sandusky was first investigated during the tenure of then Pa. Attorney General Tom Corbett. Corbett, now governor of the Commonwealth, has defended his team's work. Moulton said Corbett did not appear to have had any role in the investigation other than failing to bring forth charges.
In a statement given shortly after the report's release, Corbett said the inquiry shows the complex investigation was conducted timely manner and that politics were not involved.
“I am proud of the hard work of men and women who joined in the effort to support and fight for these victims. It was, however, difficult to see their motives and professionalism called in to question," he said. "The release of this report reaffirms the integrity of their efforts."
Corbett is a Republican and Kane is a Democrat.