Sandusky Case Heats Up Pennsylvania Attorney General Race - Dallas News |

Sandusky Case Heats Up Pennsylvania Attorney General Race


Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly is the prosecutor in one of the most high-profile cases in the nation, but she won't see it through to its conclusion.

Kelly, a 62-year-old Pittsburgh native, isn't running for attorney general in 2012, and the Pennsylvania State University sex abuse scandal is expected to last at least a year. She has been the interim attorney general since she was appointed earlier this year by her predecessor in the job, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

The case is already heating up the attorney general race, with candidates emphasizing their prosecutorial skills and eagerness to go after former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with sexually abusing boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky has denied the charges.

"Everybody's already asking on the campaign," said Daniel D. McCaffery, one of three Democrats who are running. He said he has prosecuted sexual abuse cases many times before. "And I would love to prosecute Sandusky," he said.

No Republicans have officially entered the race. But Republican state Sen. John Rafferty Jr., a former prosecutor, said Thursday that his legislative work on behalf of children would strengthen his candidacy, should he decide to run.

Also considering a run is Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, according to a high-ranking GOP executive in Harrisburg.

Kelly, also a Republican, is known as a blunt, straightforward prosecutor who has led cases on everything from illegal gambling to terrorism. She rose up the prosecutorial ranks, starting with the Allegheny County district attorney's office, before joining the US attorney's office. She cemented her reputation as a workaholic in 1980, when she left the office to get married and returned that day.

While she has worked with Corbett since 1990 and talks with him almost daily, all she knew about the Penn State case was what she read in the newspaper in March, when the grand jury proceedings surfaced. After she was sworn in this May, Kelly was presented with a thick stack of documents -- including a grand jury investigation into the alleged sexual abuse by Sandusky.

The case isn't expected to come to trial before the election. The exact number of alleged victims has not been determined. Although the grand jury presentment lists eight alleged victims, investigators are receiving more calls and may need to interview potential victims. Investigators also have to determine how many others will be prosecuted in the case.

There is also the key question about whether to prosecute former university President Graham Spanier or others on charges of perjury or obstruction of justice. An investigation is still underway into Spanier, said state officials.

Preliminary hearings in the legal case are already being postponed. A hearing scheduled to hear evidence against Penn State's former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz, set for Thursday, was rescheduled for Dec. 6. That was partly because the state has to find a room big enough to accommodate hundreds of journalists, according to people close to the investigation. Television cameras won't be allowed.

The two men, charged with perjury in the case, have maintained their innocence.

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