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Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is taken from the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., in October 2012. / Matt Rourke, AP

A review of the investigation into child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky found no evidence of political interference but said missteps slowed the case.

The probe, ordered by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, followed suggestions she made during her campaign two years ago that Gov. Tom Corbett, when he was attorney general, might have deliberately delayed the investigation into the disgraced assistant coach at the state's legendary football program.

Kane said there were "crucial missteps and inexplicable delays in bringing a serial child molester to justice."

"This was a full and fair review," she said Monday. "The facts show an inexcusable lack of urgency in charging and stopping a serial sexual predator."

The report, however, found no political influence in the 32-month state investigation.

The abuse scandal rocked the university and the state. Joe Paterno, the school's iconic head coach, was fired shortly after Sandusky was charged in 2011. Paterno died in January 2012, months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Sandusky, 70, was convicted in June 2012 of 45 criminal counts involving abuse over a 15-year period. Several young men testified that Sandusky would shower with them, grope them, and in some cases have oral and anal sex with them.

The state attorney general's office became involved in the investigation in early 2009, when Corbett was attorney general. He ran for governor in 2010.

Democrat Kane, while running for attorney general in 2012, pledged to review the investigation, implying that Republican Corbett may have slowed it for political reasons while running for office. He denied that and blamed the delays on the immense scope of the investigation and the hesitancy among some witnesses to talk to prosecutors.

Kane ordered the review after taking office. Law professor and former federal prosecutor Geoff Moulton, brought in to lead the investigation, said Monday, "We found no direct evidence that electoral politics influenced any important decision made in the investigation. In fact, we found nothing ... to indicate Attorney General Corbett made any decisions at all in the investigation."

Corbett issued a statement Monday saying the investigation was conducted with the victims at the forefront.

"The Sandusky investigation was conducted with a single purpose: to ensure justice for the victims and families by taking a child predator off the streets. Nothing more. Nothing less," the statement said. "This investigation was never about politics. It was always about the people victimized by this man."

Kane said that although the review found no "direct evidence" of politics in the long investigation, it showed that "more investigative work took place in just one month in 2011" -- after Corbett's election -- "than in all of either 2009 or 2010."

She said unexplained delays, such as failing to obtain a search warrant for Sandusky's home early in the investigation, may have delayed his arrest. That may have resulted in more abuse, she said.

Sandusky has admitted showering with the boys but has denied wrongdoing. He has been pursuing appeals while serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence.

Three former Penn State officials, including ousted former president Graham Spanier, face criminal charges related to an alleged coverup that prosecutors say temporarily shielded Sandusky from police scrutiny.

Penn State agreed to pay $60 million to dozens of sexual abuse victims. The NCAA handed down stiff sanctions against the university, including a $60 million fine, a temporary reduction in football scholarships and a ban on participation in bowl games.

The Associated Press reported Monday that a state arbitrator ruled that Sandusky's $4,900-a-month Penn State pension should be reinstated, including back payments from October 2012, when his child molestation conviction prompted the state retirement system to end his benefits.

Hearing examiner Michael Bangs said it was clear Sandusky was no longer a Penn State employee after his 1999 retirement, the AP reported. The pension law was revised five years later, in 2004, to add sexual offenses to the list of crimes that trigger forfeiture. Bangs said it did not apply to people who commit crimes after they have begun receiving their pensions.

The State Employees' Retirement System will decide whether to reinstate the pension. If it says no, Sandusky could appeal to state courts.



Copyright 2014USA TODAY

Read the original story: Prosecutor: 'Crucial missteps' delayed Sandusky investigation

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