Friday night PA Attorney General Linda Kelly used ten minutes to cite and thank every investigator, attorney, state police officer and their associates. These people worked to convict former Penn State (PSU) assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on child predator charges.
A half-dozen professional crime fighters ringed Mrs. Kelly as she made her remarks on the steps of the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte. An hour earlier a jury found Sandusky guilty on 45 counts involving the molestation of at least eight young boys going back almost two decades.
Mrs. Kelly succeeded Gov. Tom Corbett as Attorney General when Corbett was elected to the top PA political office in November, 2010. Corbett made the appointment of Kelly who worked for him when he was AG.
Corbett would not have needed ten minutes to thank his staff and associates, if he were still AG. For the year-and-a-half the Sandusky investigation was under Corbett, he never had more than one investigator on the case.
Some critics believe Corbett wanted to tip-toe past the governor’s race without dealing with such a controversial issue. He had gained enough notoriety by prosecuting elected members of the House of Representatives and their staffers to propel him into the executive mansion.
Sandusky was the CEO of Second Mile, a charity that helped wayward boys. Directors of Second Mile contributed a total of over $200,000 to Corbett’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Even more contributions flowed in from persons connected to PSU.
Corbett has denied any connection between the donations and delaying the Sandusky investigation.
Sandusky may have effectively been rendered harmless as early as 2009, according to a timeline compiled by the NY Times. Reportedly the AG investigation began when Victim No. 1 said Sandusky had “inappropriately touched him several times over a four-year period.” Corbett’s foot dragging let Sandusky move freely around young boys for two more years.
What happens next?
Two former Penn State administrators are charged with lying to the state grand jury that indicted Sandusky.
The next phase revolves around one or more prosecutors persuading the judicial system what persons in authority should do and when should they do it upon encountering suspicions of child abuse. Laws exist but are rarely enforced.
If the US Attorney looks like he is close to filing Federal charges, Kelly must react to maintain her temporary and unelected status as the state’s top crime fighter.
In the crosshairs of the Federal investigation -- and, by default, Kelly’s -- is fired PSU President Graham Spanier. Supposedly emails exist purporting he knew about Sandusky’s actions but did not react in accordance with existing laws.
Kelly or the Feds could conceivably indict Spanier. In an effort to salvage her overall conduct in this matter, Kelly might even name the late Coach Joe Paterno as an “unindicted co-conspirator.” Both would be judged to be guilty of crimes because they knew of Sandusky’s despicable actions years ago, but did nothing in their official capacity to end the conduct.
Corbett, now a member of the PSU Board of Trustees, pushed for Paterno’s immediate dismissal even after he (Paterno) agreed to resign at the end of last football season.
Because neither Spanier nor Paterno are prosecutors, their actions (or inactions) may be construed as “obstructions of justice” in a criminal court proceeding.
Not to be confused with then Attorney General Tom Corbett’s decision to not remove a child molester sooner rather than later.
That is known as “the discretionary action of a public official.”
And/or “good politics.”