For the record, no media commentator in Pennsylvania supported Tom Corbett’s ideas—from increased Marcellus Shale drilling to school choice to liquor privatization—more than I did during his 2010 campaign. Bottom line: The open letter that follows isn’t personal, and it’s not partisan. It’s only about one thing: the truth.
Dear Governor Corbett,
Since there are a number of questions that you’ve failed to answer concerning your investigation of Jerry Sandusky, on behalf of the media and the public, I respectfully ask for clarification in the following areas:
1. Based on a decade’s worth of evidence of Sandusky’s predatory activities, why did it take the attorney general’s office three years to arrest him? I understand that it takes time to conduct an investigation, but as numerous prosecutors have stated, you could have arrested him quickly and continued building the case.
Tragically, it is probable that Sandusky continued to molest victims during your epic investigation. Had he been arrested early (standard procedure in many cases with a lot less evidence), Sandusky would have had to post bail, had restrictions placed upon him and, most important, been under an ultra-intense media and community spotlight—every minute of every day until his trial.
In short, children would finally have been safe. And contrary to your assessment, this would have created a much more favorable environment for additional witnesses to come forward, knowing their bigger-than-life demon could hurt them no more. Arresting Sandusky quickly would have in no way jeopardized the strength of the case.
So either A) you were an incompetent attorney general, which virtually no one believes, or B) the investigation was deliberately understaffed and drawn out because you did not wish to be the gubernatorial candidate who took down fabled Penn State. Since doing so would have presented difficult campaign challenges, many are asking if politics was placed above children’s safety.
2. Why was the investigation so understaffed? Yes, you just recently claimed—after eight months—that media reports are wrong about only one investigator being assigned to the case for the first 15 months. The real number, as you now state, was a whopping two—and the two investigators assigned were narcotics agents. We know you were busy with Bonusgate, but political corruption never threatens anyone’s physical well-being, particularly that of defenseless children. Wouldn’t the reasonable course have been to assign agents with experience in child molestation cases? Did the agents’ inexperience lengthen the investigation more than normal … say, past your election in November 2010?
Additional resources were available. Upon becoming governor, you placed state police on the case. You could have made that same request of Governor Rendell, and, given the stakes, there is virtually no possibility he would have refused.
3. Do you believe ethical and moral lines were crossed when, after investigating Penn State as attorney general, you then participated as a member of the Board of Trustees upon becoming governor? In other words, knowing full well that the investigation was still in full swing, conducted by your handpicked successor, you chose to sit on the very board you had been—and still were—investigating. Did you ever consider recusing yourself from board activities until the investigation was concluded? Since governors rarely attend board meetings, this would have in no way raised suspicions.
4. As governor, why did you personally approve a taxpayer-funded, $3 million grant to Sandusky’s Second Mile charity, given your knowledge that Sandusky was under investigation for multiple child rapes? Your statement that blocking the grant would have tipped people off to the investigation is utterly disingenuous, particularly since the media reported on the investigation in March, and you did not approve the funds until July 2011. Vetoing the charitable grant would have simply been viewed as another financial cutback in a budget full of slashed programs. Did the $640,000 in campaign donations from board members of the Second Mile, along with their businesses and families, have anything to do with your actions? If not, fine. But how did such a massively significant point slip your mind—until the media brought it up? And was that question also out of line?
If mistakes were made, fine. People can accept that. But to stonewall reasonable questions on such an important matter, and then stalk off, is something that should not, and will not, be tolerated. Tom Corbett has a choice, perhaps the biggest of his career: He can either answer now—or in 2014.