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Bipartisan support evaporates for probe into Corbett's handling of Sandusky case

| Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 9:52 p.m.

HARRISBURG — The bipartisan support touted by Democrats calling for a federal investigation of former attorney general and now-Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's handling of the Jerry Sandusky probe no longer exists.

Three GOP House members were initially listed on the resolution, but two lawmakers said their names didn't belong there and a third said he's having his name removed.

House Democrats spokesman Bill Patton said the list of sponsors isn't the litmus test on bipartisanship.

“Put this resolution to a vote and I suspect there will be wide bipartisan support. A more salient question is why did those who originally co-sponsored the resolution change their minds?” he said.

Democrats have threatened to hold up business in the House until the Republican majority calls up the resolution.

A jury convicted Sandusky, who will be sentenced Tuesday, of 45 counts of child molestation in an investigation started by Corbett and concluded by his replacement as attorney general, Linda Kelly.

“The results of the investigation speak for themselves,” Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said Friday.

Democrats assert that Corbett dragged his feet on the investigation that spanned 33 months. They contend Sandusky, a retired Penn State assistant football coach, should have been arrested as soon as investigators established that one child was violated.

Corbett has repeatedly said the weight of 10 eventual victims coming forward was needed to convict Sandusky. Two former Penn State administrators were also charged and await trial for perjury and failing to report the alleged molestation.

Sandusky's arrest triggered a chain of events that included the firing of late Penn State Coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier.

Corbett's critics say he strung out the investigation to make sure the arrest occurred after he became governor in 2010. Harley said career state troopers, agents, and professional prosecutors made the decision to arrest Sandusky in November.

A grand jury compelled testimony from reluctant witnesses.

“The House Democrats can't make up the facts after the fact,” said Harley.

An aide to Rep. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe County, said his name should have been removed from the resolution. Rep. Gary Day, R-Lehigh County said he is not a co-sponsor of the resolution, branding it a “political tool.” Rep. Mark K. Keller, R-New Bloomfield, said through his office he never signed on as a co-sponsor, calling it a mistake.

The resolution immediately became fodder in campaigns.

Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for the Tribune-Review. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 and bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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