Saturday, February 13, 2016

AG Candidates Clash

It had to happen. The Penn State story is now part of the campaign for state attorney general as candidates take different stands on the child-sex investigation.

AG Candidates Clash


It had to happen.

The Penn State story is now part of the campaign for state attorney general with candidates staking out differing views on the handling of the child-sex scandal.

The Harrisburg Patriot-News plays the dispute across the top of page 1 Thursday and the candidates positions perfectly reflect the mostly partisan stands we've heard since Sandusky was arrested last November.

Republican David Freed, district attorney of Cumberland County, praises the state investigation which began under fellow Republican and then-AG Tom Corbett.

Democrat Kathleen Kane, a former Lackawanna County prosecutor, contends it was wrong to use a grand jury to go after Sandusky because it slowed the case and potentially endangered more children.

“I specialized in the prosecution of sexual assault,” Kane told the newspaper. “I’ve learned that while it’s essential to gather the facts and build a case, there must be an urgency to the investigation so that alleged child predators aren’t allowed to remain on the streets, putting more children at risk.”

Said Freed, “The facts confirm a cover-up at the highest levels of the university — the responsibility of which lies with the administrators of the university, not the hard-working investigators. Criminal investigations are difficult and painstaking endeavors. These challenges are dramatically compounded when a crime is willfully and extensively concealed and covered up.”

And so it goes.

Kane says if elected she'll thoroughly examine the handling of the case.

Corbett has repeatedly defended the probe on grounds that bringing charges too soon with insufficient evidence to show a pattern of behaviour puts a successful prosecution at risk.

He also vehemently denies politics had a role in the speed of the investigation. He was running for governor and prosecuting top lawmakers at the same time.

Down-ballot, row office statewide races usually get little attention in presidential years. But the Penn State scandal, the Sandusky probe and whatever else happens related to both between now and November could put this AG race in a different, brighter light.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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