Allentown
52° F
Light Rain
Light Rain

Pa. AG Kathleen Kane picks ex-prosecutor to lead Sandusky investigation

By 69 News & Associated Press, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 05 2013 06:48:57 AM CST

Kane to investigate Sandusky case

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Keeping a campaign promise, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Monday named a special deputy to direct an internal inquiry into the handling of the child sexual abuse scandal involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The appointee, H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., is "a highly respected former federal prosecutor who will assist us in providing a comprehensive and independent examination of the facts," Kane said in a news release announcing the move.

Kane, sworn in last month as the first woman and first Democrat to be elected attorney general, said she would make the findings public "once the facts have been uncovered," but she did not set a time line for completing the probe nor comment further.

Moulton, 54, a part-time associate professor at the Widener University School of Law, spent eight years as a prosecutor in the Philadelphia-based federal courts. That included four years as first assistant U.S. attorney, supervising 130 lawyers and all major cases.

He also served in senior positions in the federal government in Washington from 2009 to 2011.

Kane pledged during her campaign last year to investigate why it took the attorney general's office nearly three years to charge Sandusky.

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett was attorney general for most of that time, which included his 2010 campaign for governor. Corbett cites the successful prosecution as proof the state investigation was effective. He denied playing politics with the probe to ensure that it didn't become public while he was running for governor.

Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, nearly a year after Corbett was sworn in as governor. Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 child sexual abuse counts in June 2012 and is serving a prison term of 30 to 60 years.

Moulton will be paid $72.24 an hour and will have access to experts in the attorney general's office as needed, said Ellen Mellody, Kane's spokeswoman.

The Sandusky case exploded into a nationally prominent scandal that marred the reputation of Penn State and revered football coach Joe Paterno, who died in January 2012. It also resulted in criminal cover-up charges against former university President Graham Sainier and two of his former lieutenants, and led the NCAA to impose sanctions on Penn State that included a four-year ban on bowl play and $60 million in fines.

A statewide poll conducted by Quinnipiac University last month showed the scandal has hurt the governor politically. Fifty percent of the 1,221 voters polled said they disapproved of Corbett's handling of the Penn State situation over the last few years. Twenty-six percent approved and 24% did not have an opinion.

However, Corbett scored points for filing an antitrust challenge to the NCAA sanctions. The poll showed 43% of the respondents approved of the filing, while 37% disapproved.

Also, Spanier is now allowed to have contact with university trustees and potential witnesses against him in his trial on charges he lied about and concealed child sex abuse allegations involving Sandusky.

A suburban Harrisburg district judge modified the bail conditions Friday.

Spanier sought the changes last month, arguing that he encounters trustees in State College, where he lives, and that he doesn't know who the witnesses will be.

Two former trustees live in his apartment complex.

Spanier is on paid leave from the university. He's awaiting a court hearing with co-defendants Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, who served as athletics director and vice president. They deny the charges.

Spanier is allowed to travel outside Pennsylvania but can't leave the country.