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Jerry Sandusky Abuse Investigation Took Too Long: AG's Report

By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 24, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The investigation into Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse may have taken too long, according to a report released Monday by Pennsylvania's attorney general.

The 339-page report by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane concluded that her predecessors had made "crucial missteps and inexplicable delays" in arresting and charging Sandusky for his crimes. Philadelphia's WCAU-TV reports that it took prosecutors "a year to recommend filing charges against Sandusky," one of many revelations unearthed by the new report.

What caused the Sandusky investigation to last so long?

Basic Investigative Steps Not Taken

According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's report, the Sandusky investigation officially began when the Clinton County Children and Youth Social Services (CYS) referred initial complaints about alleged abuse to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) in November 2008. The AG's report found that while there was a large amount of investigation in 2011, "there were long stretches of time, particularly in 2010," where little investigation took place at all.

In fact, the first subpoena for documents from both Penn State and The Second Mile, Sandusky's nonprofit for underprivileged youth, didn't come until more than two years after allegations were presented to law enforcement.

In addition, the report found that no one involved in the investigation even asked Penn State police or State College police about prior allegations against Sandusky until two years after the report to CYS.

Failure to Search Sandusky's Home

Another explanation for the length of the investigation was the failure to search Sandusky's residence prior to 2011. The AG's report proffers two law-enforcement explanations for why a search warrant wasn't used to search Sandusky's home in 2009 or 2010:

  • A desire to avoid exposing the investigation to public attention, and
  • A belief that nothing of value would be found in Sandusky's home since he was aware of the investigation.

Despite these weak excuses, it was certainly legally possible for investigators to apply for a search warrant with a showing of probable cause that Sandusky was the perpetrator of child molestation. And although the actual search may have become public, the warrants and associated records could have been kept under court seal to protect the investigation.

In hindsight, it may have saved thousands of hours if the investigation had been run differently, but Sandusky was ultimately convicted for his crimes.

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