Sandusky Scandal Might Take Down Governor Too

By
Governor Tom Corbett. Photo: Mario Tama/2011 Getty Images

Though Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison last year, the scandal drags on. Penn State officials are still awaiting trial and now Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania's new attorney general, is launching an investigation into Gov. Tom Corbett's handling of the case. Kane tells the New York Times that she plans to name a special prosecutor in the next few days to look into why Corbett, the former attorney general, didn't arrest the former Penn State football coach when the first victim came forward, and instead let his office take three years to bring criminal charges.

During that time, Corbett was campaigning for governor, and board members for The Second Mile, the charity founded by Sandusky, contributed more than $200,000 to his campaign. Once he was elected, Corbett's administration approved a $3 million grant to the charity, which was later rescinded.

Corbett has been haunted by questions about the Sandusky case, and says it took 33 months to arrest Sandusky because at first there was only one accuser and investigators didn't think they could win a conviction. Kane, who specialized in child sex abuse cases as a former county prosecutor, countered, “It’s never taken me that long” to build a case against a molester.

Kane has been careful to stress that she'll accept whatever conclusion the special prosecutor comes to, since some see a political element in the investigation. Kane is a popular Democrat, and Corbett is a Republican with low approval ratings and an election coming up in 2014. The investigation could complicate Corbett's reelection bid, though his involvement in the toxic abuse scandal would probably be a major issue either way.