Pennsylvania House Republicans dodge Sandusky resolution with recess

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October 4, 2012

By Maresa Strano


HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: One of the few remaining session dates for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives ended early yesterday after members of the Democratic minority attempted to force a vote on a resolution to launch a federal probe into the handling of the investigation by the state attorney general's office into former Assistant Penn State football coach and recently convicted child-molester Jerry Sandusky.[1] It was years before the first allegations against Sandusky crystallized into a marathon grand jury investigation by the office, at the time led by Tom Corbett, who was elected governor before the case went to trial. The text of HR 520 hinges on the question of "whether that alleged sexual abuse may have violated Federal law," as a result of the various opportunities provided to Sandusky to continue offending during the grand jury's pregnancy, before his arrest. For example, Sandusky's practice of taking potential- additional-victims across state lines after allegations had already been registered as one of the possible violations of federal law that the resolution's numerous Democratic sponsors believe warrant a closer look by the U.S. Attorney General.[2]

Rather than let the resolution come to a vote on Wednesday, House Speaker Sam Smith (R) called a recess. He “immediately stopped proceedings,” according to State Rep. Jesse White, who also recounted on his Facebook page the flight of Republican representatives from the building following Smith's abrupt call to end the session.[3] The Democrats filed a motion in June to circumvent the usual process to give the resolution the chance to be voted on by the full House before the general election. Inside sources reported that the GOP leadership "would not rule out canceling every scheduled session date between now and the Nov. 6 election date—which means that the House would not come back into session until January."[1]

Speaking on behalf of the House Republicans, Steve Miskin defended the evasive maneuver by implying that "an investigation of an investigation which led to the successful prosecution of a child predator," is an unnecessary diversion from more worthwhile bills like one currently pending about sex abuse awareness education.[1]

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