HARRISBURG -- Attorney General Kathleen Kane has appointed a former federal prosecutor to investigate how her office -- while it was under the direction of now Gov. Tom Corbett -- handled the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case.
Ms. Kane, a Democrat who took office last month, made reviewing the attorney general's investigation of the former Penn State University assistant football coach a central pledge of her campaign.
Ms. Kane said H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., who previously worked as a federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will handle the investigation. Mr. Moulton also was chief counsel to U.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., who was appointed to the seat held by Joe Biden, now vice president. Mr. Moulton also clerked for William Rehnquist from 1985 to 1986, when the late chief justice was an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a statement, Ms. Kane said Mr. Moulton will help her office "in providing a comprehensive and independent examination of the facts surrounding the handling of the Sandusky investigation." She said his findings will be made public.
Mr. Moulton will be paid $72.24 per hour, or about $141,000 a year, according to Ellen Mellody, a spokeswoman for Ms. Kane.
The case has remained a political trigger point more than seven months after a Centre County jury convicted Sandusky on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. In November, Ms. Kane, a former Lackawanna County assistant district attorney, easily became the first Democrat elected attorney general after focusing her campaign on a critique of how Mr. Corbett handled the investigation when he was attorney general.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found Pennsylvania voters disapprove 50 percent to 26 percent of how Mr. Corbett "has handled the Penn State situation over the last few years," although they approve 43 percent to 37 percent of the governor's lawsuit challenging the NCAA sanctions against Penn State.
Mr. Corbett has responded by pointing to the success of the prosecution and saying he believed a case brought with a single victim would not have convicted Sandusky.
Mr. Moulton will report directly to the attorney general. Ellen Mellody, a spokeswoman for Ms. Kane, said Mr. Moulton will review the case to answer questions about the length of the investigation, the use of a grand jury and the allotment of dedicated resources.
"Mr. Moulton will be taking an independent, fresh, thorough and comprehensive examination of the facts surrounding the Sandusky investigation," she said. "We're going to look at those facts to ensure the office is deploying best practices."
Ms. Mellody said the office would not make Mr. Moulton available for interviews.
"Mr. Moulton's No. 1 focus will be on ensuring that a thorough and comprehensive investigation takes place," she said.
Karen Langley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141.