Monday, June 23

OAG Press Release on Moulton Investigation

Monday, June 23, 2014

Attorney General Kane releases Sandusky review
Inexcusable delays throughout 2009 and 2010

HARRISBURG – A review of the Jerry Sandusky investigation released today by Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane confirmed that the investigation took too long because of crucial missteps and inexplicable delays in bringing a serial child molester to justice. The facts in the report show:
  • It took a full year, from March 2009 until March 2010, for the office to recommend charging Sandusky because basic investigative steps were not taken, including searching Sandusky's home.
  • In March 2010, career prosecutor Jonelle Eshbach circulated a draft presentment that recommended filing multiple charges against Sandusky, based on statements by Victim 1 and other corroborating evidence. But senior leadership at OAG failed to act on that recommendation for five months despite repeated requests from Eshbach and the mother of Victim 1; Eshbach was informed in August 2010 that more victims were necessary for the case to proceed and they were declining to charge Sandusky.
  • Then, in the months that followed, little effort was made to find any more victims or charge Sandusky, and the case was at a complete standstill until a tip was received by the Centre County District Attorney in November 2010.
"This was a full and fair review," Attorney General Kane said. "The facts show an inexcusable lack of urgency in charging and stopping a serial sexual predator. The report documents that more investigative work took place in just one month in 2011 than in all of either 2009 or 2010."

Special Deputy Attorney General H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., working with Attorney General Kane and staff, led the review. Moulton was joined by Special Agent-In-Charge David Peifer, who oversees the Bureau of Special Investigations, including the agents in the Child Predator Section, and Senior Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka, who has nearly 20 years of experience handling child sexual abuse cases.

"These types of post-action reviews are vitally important," Moulton said. "Our goal was to provide a factual, unbiased review of this investigation and to identify any ways that law enforcement can do a better job protecting children. Attorney General Kane made it clear to me from the beginning that this review was not about politics. This was about a core function of government – protecting children."

Moulton's review found no direct evidence that political directives drove any of the decisions made throughout the course of the investigation. However, the facts and the timeline in the report raise serious concerns regarding decisions made at the very outset of the probe in 2009 and throughout 2010 and 2011, which ultimately delayed the investigation and the presentment of charges. The report's key findings include:
  • In March 2010, prosecutor Eshbach circulated a draft presentment that recommended filing multiple charges against Sandusky, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a felony. But her pleas for a decision were ignored for five months. (See Appendix G.)

  • In August, five months later, senior leadership at OAG told Eshbach that the case would not proceed without more victims or better corroboration for Victim 1. The report notes that this was the first time in Eshbach's career that she had submitted a presentment to her supervisors that had not been approved promptly. (See page 53.)

  • The report found further inaction in 2009, and from August to November 2010, noting that, "… when Eshbach reported . . . … that her 'bosses have directed that we try harder to find any other corroboration for [A.F.],' little investigative activity apparently occurred. Indeed, once Eshbach submitted the draft presentment in March 2010, the only reported investigative activity before the end of August was the offer to Sandusky … to testify in the Grand Jury. … Not only does there appear to have been no concerted effort to identify additional victims, but no witnesses were interviewed and no subpoenas were served. Nor was there apparently any renewed discussion of searching Sandusky's residence or checking for earlier allegations of misconduct." (See pages 129-30.)
"This case sat inactive for months while a predator was on the streets and a victim waited for justice," Attorney General Kane said. "The Grand Jury presentment, drafted and supported by the lead prosecutor, sat on someone's desk for five months. Only after the lead prosecutor repeatedly pushed for an answer, the presentment was denied. It is unfathomable why there was such a lack of urgency."
In a response to the report, Eshbach's attorney wrote that Eshbach continues to believe charging Sandusky in early 2010 was the appropriate course of action (see Responses, Jonelle Eshbach), noting her own experience and that of other prosecutors.

The review suggests that had OAG taken basic measures at the outset of the probe, the issue of charging based on Victim 1's statements alone would likely have been moot because the additional evidence would have been in hand. These important but delayed steps included searching Sandusky's house, requesting records from local police and child protective services and seeking information from The Second Mile, among others.

The report notes that OAG did not search Sandusky's home for more than two years after the office received the case, 21 months after it was suggested by OAG's lead investigator, and more than one year after Eshbach wrote the first presentment. That search, once conducted, revealed valuable evidence. The report states that, "... the failure to search Sandusky's residence earlier in the investigation is difficult to defend." (See page 129.)

The report states: "As one expert in the investigation of child molesters put it: 'The major law-enforcement problem with the use of search warrants in child-sexual-victimization cases is that they are not obtained soon enough.' That was certainly the case in the Sandusky investigation. The search uncovered, among other things, many photographs of already-identified Sandusky victims, as well as lists of Second Mile campers with handwritten asterisks next to their names. Had the search been conducted in 2009 or 2010, investigators could have used the photographs and names with asterisks to find victims much earlier than they did." (See page 127.)

"We need to make sure that investigations don't further victimize the victims. The suggestion that a conviction erases the need to ensure missteps are not made again in the future is seriously flawed," Kane said. "The failure to search Sandusky's residence with appropriate urgency alone is both unexcused and inexcusable."

The review found that the decision to take the case to the Grand Jury was supported by Eshbach and her superiors, and ultimately Attorney General Tom Corbett, and was within their prosecutorial discretion.
The report notes, however, that, "... for long stretches of time before the investigation ramped up in 2011, the resources of the Grand Jury were barely used at all. From the beginning of January 2010 through the end of October 2010, for example, the Grand Jury issued no subpoenas for testimony and only one subpoena for records." (See page 105.)

"Prosecutors must act quickly and decisively to protect children from continued abuse and do all that is necessary to protect potential victims. While I don't agree with the decision to go to the Grand Jury, I recognize that prosecutors may differ. However, once you decide to use a Grand Jury, it is imperative that you take full and immediate advantage of its tools," Attorney General Kane said.

Moulton's report outlined several recommendations to continue reforming the way child sexual abuse is reported and investigated in Pennsylvania, including the following:
  • OAG should rely more heavily on collaborating with child sexual abuse investigators and children services at the local level where abuse is suspected to have occurred.
  • In high-priority cases, senior management in the Executive Office at OAG should be more involved, direct greater attention and make decisions more quickly.
  • OAG should make child abuse education and outreach a higher priority.
  • The Legislature's work on child abuse legislation should continue, including further consideration of legislative changes recommended by the Task Force on Child Protection that have not yet been enacted.
For more specific information on these recommendations, see Part Three of Moulton's Report. (See pages 132 through 141.)

 "I want to thank Mr. Moulton for his professionalism and for the public service he has provided," said Attorney General Kane.

"He fulfilled our mission of bringing the facts about this investigation to the public, despite obstacles such as the need to recover millions of emails prematurely deleted under a retention policy put in place by the Attorney General in 2011," she said. "The OAG team that assisted Mr. Moulton was led by Special Agent-In-Charge Peifer, Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Ditka and Deputy Attorney General Marisa Lehr. As well, Senior Supervisory Special Agent Braden Cook developed the program to retrieve the deleted emails."
Moulton, an Associate Professor Emeritus at Widener University School of Law and a former federal prosecutor, was specifically appointed by Attorney General Kane as Special Deputy Attorney General to conduct this review.

He previously served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Chief of Staff and Deputy Special Inspector General for the U.S. Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and Project Director for the U.S. Department of Treasury's widely-praised report concerning the failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.


  1. As you might expect the PN headlines read "No political motive." When they should read "Incompetent Leadership leads to additional child victims."

    Fact is that Corbett was more interested in his campaign for governor than in running his AG office. That actually is political motivation to disengage from leadership responsibility. And his Chief of Investigations Noonan must have fell asleep at the switch for over a year.

    Their failures say they really don't care abut the victims.

    1. The PN's "day in the sun" is coming.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. The PN can not resist, even at the risk of looking utterly incompetent, to keep defending Corbett etal.

      According to PN, "Feathers further defended his office's handling of the investigation. He said had the search of Sandusky's home been conducted in 2009, the evidence collected could have been thrown out as no longer timely and that could have caused prosecutors to lose the case." In what world does this guy get his investigative experience. So his logic is don't look for the best evidence until the end keep on the dead ends instead?????

      And that is the guy that Noonan let make the decisions on resource and investigative needs and then Corbett promotes. They scream of incompetence. Feathers needs to go back to the academy and learn about the value of search warrants.

      And PN prints it with a defense of the AG.

    4. One PN article headline says "Kane's verdict on Corbett's Sandusky investigation: no political influence, but lousy investigating."

      That's at least a mild criticism of Corbett.

      I'm disappointed Moulton's criticisms were often wishy washy in the report. Kane's press conference criticisms were much stronger.

    5. I agree that Moulton and Kane pulled some punches today. However, I suspect they will let the Feds do the heavy lifting when it comes to exposing the corruption in this case.

      "It is one of a series that has been going on, a very intense series by the FBI and the IRS and our office from the late '90s on to focus first of all on the connection between organized crime and public corruption, which is very real in this district, and then, secondly, step by step taking out each pocket where there is a power and people who think they can't be touched," Mr. Zubrod said.

  2. Most everyone in the media seemed to have missed the big bombshell today. Channel 8 reported that two Sandusky victims claimed they were abused by Sandusky after Corbett got the case.

    Kane gave a wishy washy answer that had Sandusky been in jail earlier, he would not have been able to abuse them. She should have said that an early arrest would have likely stopped the abuse even if Sandusky got bail because Sandusky would have been under a microscope, and the victims may have even gotten the courage to go to police, as others did.!2RuHd

    1. You are correct. A straight answer from Kane (a soundbite, if you will) would have done the trick. All she had to say was "An earlier arrest and publicity would have provided those victims with a valuable warning to stay away from Sandusky."

  3. The comment you made about organized crime and public corruption in the federal central district of Pennsylvania is correct. That is extremely huge!! Gricar's disappearance may come back into play. Based on all I have read across the spectrum I still feel there is something very big underlying this whole event. Paterno, C/S/S, Spanier, Kane's just released report is all very surficial. This is a manifested plot that works itself as a patchwork quilt. The truth may not be discovered for some time to come. Hopefully this is not the case!!

  4. Disappointing, but hardly surprising, that no reporters have come out with any in depth analysis of the Moulton Report. The Timeline contains lots of new details.

    The thumbdrive of Penn State emails was not received by Trooper Rossman until July 7, 2011 yet computer forensic expert John Corro of Penn State testified he turned it over to Cynthia Baldwin in April. Did Baldwin sit on it for 3 months?

    The recovered email of June 3, 2011 in Appendix N has Detective Sassano telling Prosecutor Feathers that Baldwin was stalling the subpoenas.

    On May 15, 2011 a trooper interviewed eyewitness janitor James Calhoun but I don't remember any mention of what Calhoun told police ever being made public. Sassano mentions in the June 3, 2011 email the "Need to memorialize testimony of James Calhoun in case he passes before the prosecution is completed against Sandusky." That seems to indicate that the delays in the investigation and Sandusky's arrest allowed Calhoun's dementia to progress to the point that he was unable to provide testimony.

    Also missing from the Timeline is any mention of interviews with Calhoun family members to corroborate James Calhoun's testimony.

    Especially interesting is that Sassano's June 3, 2011 email mentioned that “The longer we wait to file charges, the greater the potential for Sandusky to molest other kids.”

    Sassano recognized the danger Sandusky still presented to children even at that late stage and still could not convince prosecutors to arrest him despite several victims who had testified to the grand jury plus two eyewitnesses to two other victims being molested.

    1. Thanks, Tim. I suspect there was a delay in the time between the OAG getting the emails and them giving them to Sassano. Tony was kept in the dark on quite a few things. That said, the July 2011 turnover of the emails surely proves Freeh lied about finding them on March 20, 2012.

      Good points on Calhoun. Where were the family members to corroborate. Also, the last janitor to testify at the GJ did so on November 1, 2011. Then didn't testify at the trial.

      I think there is a lot here that will be helpful to the case of C/S/S.

    2. Another thing that seems to undercut the prosecution's criticism of Spanier for not discussing his grand jury testimony with the Trustees is the following April 14, 2011 item on the timeline:

      'Fina seeks and secures an order from the supervising grand jury judge ordering witnesses not to disclose publicly their testimony before the Grand Jury."

      That was the day after Spanier testified.

  5. Sounds like Corbett agrees with Kane:

    Kane on Corbett's investigation - "The facts show an inexcusable lack of urgency in charging and stopping a serial sexual predator. The report documents that more investigative work took place in just one month in 2011 than in all of either 2009 or 2010."

    Corbett on Paterno's handling of Sandusky shower incident - "But we must keep in mind that when it comes to the safety of children, there can be no margin of error, no hesitation to act."

  6. Which tells me Corbett has know idea what he saying!