By Daniel Kelley
HARRISBURG Penn. (Reuters) – A highly anticipated review of the child sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky released on Monday found delays in prosecuting the former Penn State football coach but no evidence of political interference by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett during his time as attorney general.
Sandusky, a prominent assistant coach for Penn State, was convicted in 2012 of molesting 10 boys over 15 years and now is serving a prison sentence of 30 to 60 years.
The report, compiled by former federal prosecutor Geoffrey Moulton and released by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office, said there were “inexplicable delays in bringing a serial child molester to justice.”
An assistant attorney general prepared charging documents based on grand jury testimony of a single victim against Sandusky as early as March 2010, more than a year and a half before he was arrested, the report said.
Her supervisors in the attorney general’s office overruled her, believing testimony of a lone victim would be “insufficient against a community icon like Sandusky” and that a failed prosecution would make it difficult to proceed if other victims came forward, it said.
They wanted investigators to find more victims, despite fears that a delay could allow Sandusky to create more victims, it said.
The report noted that the investigation was delayed as well by difficulty getting documents from The Second Mile, a charity for troubled youth that Sandusky ran and from which he recruited some victims, and from Penn State, which did not turn over a police report involving a 1998 child sex abuse incident.
Investigators say finding that report led to the discovery of four more victims.
Sandusky’s arrest rocked the world of big-time college football and led to accusations that Corbett, who was attorney general when the first victim was referred to his office in 2009, slowed the case to avoid alienating potential campaign donors.
Sandusky worked from 1969 through 1999 under legendary longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired in the wake of the scandal and who died in January 2012.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat elected in 2012, has argued criminal charges should have been brought sooner, and that Corbett failed to protect children for more than two years.
In response, several prosecutors said the review reeked of politics.
“To us, career professionals who investigated and prosecuted this case, the report was clearly born of political opportunism and posturing,” the prosecutors wrote.
They added, however, that the report, despite its “unsavory origins,” was in part “palatable.”
Corbett, a Republican, has struggled with poor approval ratings and is seen as a highly vulnerable incumbent.
Penn State’s former president, former athletic director and former vice president face charges including endangering the welfare of children, obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy.
Moulton served as special investigator into the 1993 federal raid of the Branch Davidian headquarters in Waco, Texas.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Bill Trott)