Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
Former federal prosecutor Geoff Moulton has been tapped by Attorney General Kathleen Kane to lead an investigation into the handling of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case. Moulton signed on with Kane’s office last week, said a spokeswoman, and his first day on the job was Monday.
In addition to Moulton’s 8 years’ cumulative experience in a U.S. attorney’s office, he prepared the U.S. Treasury report reviewing the failed government raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
For three years, beginning in 2009, he was chief counsel to Delaware U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman, and helped run the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, supervising the agency’s investigations of fraud and other crimes related to TARP.
Moulton has been an associate professor at Widener University School of Law’s Delaware campus since 1993. Former Widener professor Wes Oliver followed the Sandusky case closely, and said he thought one thing when he learned Moulton had been chosen to investigate the handling of the case.
“They couldn’t have gotten a better guy,” said Oliver, now a professor at Duquesne Law School in Pittsburgh. He described the former prosecutor as “one of the most thoughtful, non-rash person I’ve ever met,” adding that he was surprised Moulton was picked, because he’s “off the radar screen” in Pennsylvania political circles.
Bob Power, another fellow Widener law professor from the school’s Harrisburg campus, said he suspects Moulton’s experience leading special projects had a lot to do with his selection for the high-profile post.
“It’s his experience at investigating problems on a deadline and the ability to come up with a strong, coherent report in an appropriate fashion,” said Power.
But Moulton’s resume is void of the kind of sexual predator cases he’ll be looking into as he revisits the Sandusky case. Ellen Mellody, spokeswoman for the state attorney general, said Moulton will have access to child predator case experts within the office.
“Mr. Moulton has been hired to carry out an independent review of the facts regarding the conduct of the investigation – not to provide an expert opinion of the handling of child abuse cases,” said Mellody.
John Burkoff, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said the lack of sexual predator cases under Moulton’s belt are far less important that two other requirements.
“One is, that you get someone who has had some prosecutorial experience – who understands the difficulties of carrying on an investigation and developing a case, and two, you get someone who is objective,” said Burkoff.
Kane campaigned on a promise to investigate the Sandusky case, suggesting prosecutors took too long to arrest the former Penn State football team’s defensive coordinator, that the case was under-staffed, and that its leadership erred in collecting testimony by way of a grand jury process. The investigation lasted nearly three years and began during Governor Corbett’s tenure as the state attorney general.
Sandusky was convicted last June and is serving a lengthy prison sentence.
Published in State House Sound Bites
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