The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is criticizing Attorney General Kathleen Kane, saying she needs to back off her criticisms of the Jerry Sandusky investigation now that her accusations of political foot-dragging in the matter have proved unfounded.
The rebuke comes in the form of an op-ed in today’s Inquirer from DAs David J. Freed (Cumberland County), D. Peter Johnson (Union County), Risa Vetri Ferman (Montgomery County), and the executive committee of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.
It is unsurprising that the report revealed no political interference with the investigation, as claims of this nature arose not from evidence, but as talking points in Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s election campaign. Her premise was that, as a county assistant prosecutor, none of her child-abuse cases had involved the use of a grand jury or had taken so long.
But in our experience, the variables of each individual case must guide law enforcement’s response. If nothing else, we are confident that the findings of Moulton provide a series of lessons learned about these choices, which present themselves in every child-abuse investigation. For that reason, Moulton’s report should be considered a serious undertaking, and the District Attorneys Association will continue to study it with interest.
On behalf of the executive committee of the District Attorneys Association, which represents the commonwealth’s 67 elected district attorneys from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, however, we are compelled to share our concern and disappointment that any valuable lessons in the report will be overshadowed by the attorney general’s continued public attacks on the successful work of career prosecutors. The focus on winning the news cycle must end.
In its news pages, the Inquirer reported that Kane’s image has taken a blow. “Being rebuked in a sense by your prosecutorial colleagues is about as damaging an element for an incumbent officeholder as you can find,” said G. Terry Madonna, a political analyst at Franklin and Marshall College.