A legislator on Wednesday said he will employ a seldom-used parliamentary petition to force a vote on bipartisan-sponsored legislation—H.R. 520—that would urge the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the state's handling of theJerry Sandusky investigation.
The resolution has been sitting in the House Rules Committee since December 2011. In the House, if a committee does not report a bill within 30 days of receiving it, any member may file a discharge petition to force the bill to the full House for consideration.
State Rep. Brandon Neuman announced today that he has accumulated the required 25 signatures from his peers to introduce a discharge resolution—and following established protocol, will announce his intentions on the House floor today, in hope of bringing the bill up for a House vote as early as Friday.
Neuman said the investigating grand jury report found there were credible allegations of sexual abuse lodged against Sandusky as far back as 1998, yet it was years before the criminal complaint was filed by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and Sandusky was finally arrested.
While these allegations were pending, Sandusky continued to have contact with minors, putting them at risk of sexual abuse, until he was finally arrested in 2011.
"Jerry Sandusky is a convicted sex offender, but the case is far from closed," Neuman, D-North Strabane, said. "Many in the public want to know why the Attorney General's office took so long to investigate this case and why it didn’t do more to stop him from having contact with minors. There are reports that this lapse in time led to the sexual abuse of more victims.
The lawmaker continued: "The public has the right to know why the attorney general didn’t charge Sandusky immediately when there was credible evidence, because his explanation of waiting for more evidence to accumulate doesn't make any sense based on past cases, including other charges he lodged against sex offenders. The only way to find out what really happened is to have an independent agency, like the federal Attorney General's office, investigate."
In a release, Neuman cited a 2009 charge by then-Attorney General Tom Corbett over child sexual abuse with less evidence from just one year earlier, in 2008, as precedent.
He said that case, in which a Butler County man was accused of using his position as a doctor at a school for dependent and delinquent teens to sexually assault two teenage boys, is "eerily similar to that of Sandusky and the Second Mile charity he founded."
In addition, Randy Feathers, who led the investigation and the Attorney General Office agents, recently admitted that there was a shortage of investigators for the Sandusky investigation because of the Harrisburg-Bonusgate investigation, and that the Sandusky case ended up in the hands of the State College Bureau of Narcotics Investigation.
House Resolution 520 also would ask the federal agency to determine what and when the leaders at Pennsylvania State University knew or had reason to know about the sexual abuse, and whether Sandusky violated federal law when he took minors across state lines to engage in sexual abuse.
"This was massive misallocation of attorney general staff, misplaced priorities and a shameful failure to protect children from a dangerous sexual predator," Neuman said. "Just because Jerry Sandusky is behind bars doesn't mean we should stop investigating what went wrong and hold people accountable for their gross negligence."