Ditka, prosecutor in Penn State child abuse case, dies at 55

October 17, 2018
FILE - In this March 24, 2017, file photo, Prosecutor Laura Ditka arrives for Graham Spanier's trial at Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa. Ditka, the lead prosecutor in the child abuse case involving officials at Penn State, has died. The Allegheny County district attorney's office tweeted Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, that Ditka died unexpectedly. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Laura Ditka, a lead prosecutor in the child abuse case involving officials at Penn State, has died at age 55.

A funeral home said Wednesday that Ditka died at a Pittsburgh-area hospital. The cause of her death on Monday was not disclosed.

The Allegheny County district attorney’s office, where she worked for 25 years, called her “an extraordinary public servant and person and a loving mom.”

Ditka led the prosecution of President Graham Spanier and other university officials charged with mishandling complaints about assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier was convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment. Two other officials pleaded guilty.

Ditka was a deputy attorney general who spent 25 years in the Allegheny County DA’s office, where she established the office’s child abuse unit.

Gov. Tom Wolf ordered flags at the Capitol Complex and public buildings in Allegheny County lowered to half-staff.

Ditka was a niece of Mike Ditka, the former football player, coach and commentator. Survivors include a daughter. Her funeral is Monday.

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