A house resolution calling for a federal review of the investigation of former football coach Jerry Sandusky, which was conducted by Gov. Tom Corbett as attorney general, failed to pass in session yesterday.
Bill Patton, House Democratic Caucus press secretary, said the resolution has been in committee since December 2011 and said it was disappointing that it was not taken up and brought to a vote.
Patton said though it was very possible that the investigation was conducted properly, he said it was highly unusual for a case like Sandusky’s to go to the grand jury instead of him being directly charged after credible evidence was found.
“The question remains, why did it take almost three years from the initial witness coming forward for charges to be filed against Mr. Sandusky?” he said. “Why the great delay?”
Patton said the Democrats who support the resolution are in the minority, and said the Republican majority has the ability to control the flow of legislation.
He said he did not know why the resolution failed to pass.
“There are many questions still among the general public about how the investigation was handled,” Patton said. “It seems logical to want to get some answers to those questions. I don’t know why the majority in the House is blocking that.”
Patton said Rep. Frank Dermody, the Democratic floor leader, will be writing a letter to current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for the review to take place.
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, who said he supported moving ahead with the resolution, said it takes a lot of time to gather the data before indicting a high profile person.
He said for citizens and taxpayers, they had to verify that somebody is not falsely accused of a crime and must do a thorough investigation in order to get a conviction.
Benninghoff said for the Sandusky investigation, more things were revealed as the investigation went on.
“You only have one time to do it right,” Benninghoff said. “So while some people think the investigation took too long, I think the results speak for themselves when you get 45 out of 48 indictments into a conviction.”
Tor Michaels, chief of staff for Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, said the importance of this resolution was to shine a light on how the investigation was handled.
He said if the efforts to pass the resolution were continued to be thwarted, the people of Pennsylvania and Penn State would begin to demand answers.
Michaels said one would think that the Corbett administration would welcome an investigation, and said it raises questions that they do not.
Corbett’s press secretary Kevin Harley said the resolution is just “politics at its most cynical.”
“[It’s] another session today and another attempt by the house Democratic leadership to take political advantage of the victims of Jerry Sandusky,” Harley said