STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — A former Pennsylvania county prosecutor said Wednesday that he referred an allegation that former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused a child to state prosecutors because his wife's brother was Sandusky's adopted son.
Former Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira told The Associated Press that he cited the possible conflict of interest in passing the 2009 report to the state attorney general's office, which at the time was headed by now-Gov. Tom Corbett.
"I reviewed it and I made the decision it needed to be investigated further," Madeira told the AP in a phone interview. "But the apparent conflict of interest created an impediment for me to make those kinds of decisions."
Sandusky was charged Nov. 5 with 40 criminal counts that accuse him of sexually abusing eight boys over 15 years.
In an interview Tuesday with the AP, Madeira declined to specify his family tie to Sandusky, but he revealed the connection Wednesday. He said he hasn't spoken to his brother-in-law in years and rarely spoke to Sandusky.
"I can count on one hand the number of times I've spoken with Jerry Sandusky or my wife's brother," he said Wednesday.
Madeira's wife, Lisa, also was adopted, but by a different family. Including Madeira's brother-in-law, Sandusky has six adopted children.
Madeira declined to identify his brother-in-law by name.
Asked if he had any concerns over how his wife's brother was treated by Sandusky, Madeira said, "My wife hasn't expressed anything like that to me, and I don't know them well enough to have an opinion on that."
Madeira was Centre County's top prosecutor from 2005 to 2009, when he lost a re-election campaign to Stacy Parks Miller. He is in private practice.
The case initially brought to Madeira is referred to in the 23-page grand jury report as "Victim 1." That report said the victim testified about instances of abuse that happened in 2007 and 2008, and that Sandusky had contact with the boy at a high school in Clinton County, just north of Centre.
Madeira said the case was referred to him by Clinton County prosecutors in early 2009 after they determined that the allegations mainly occurred in Centre County. He said he was not aware of any previous allegations against Sandusky, including ones reported in 1998 and 2002, and that he had no further contact with the investigation after referring it to the attorney general's office.
"These kinds of things are serious to me," Madeira said when asked his reaction when he heard about the charges announced Nov. 5. "Instantly saddened, deeply saddened, with the regards to the number of alleged victims."
In hindsight, Madeira said, the state grand jury was the right jurisdiction to handle the case since two counties were involved, and allegations spanned years.
The grand jury report detailed a 1998 investigation by Penn State police, begun after an 11-year-old boy's mother complained that Sandusky had showered with her son in the football facilities. Then-District Attorney Ray Gricar declined to file charges.
Gricar was the DA before Madeira took office, and the Sandusky case has renewed attention on the mystery surrounding Gricar's whereabouts. Gricar disappeared in April 2005 and was declared legally dead earlier this year.
Investigators have said they don't believe there's a connection between his disappearance and the decision to not charge Sandusky.
"I don't know what was in the report that Ray saw," Madeira said. "Unless we know different, it's unfair to suggest that Ray didn't do something that he should have done because I don't know what he had in front of him. He's the one who talked to the victims. He saw the other portions of the investigation that I am not privy to."