Friday, May 25, 2012

Charity that Sandusky founded seeks to fold

By Mike Brunker,

Pat Little / Reuters file

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football defensive coordinator who founded The Second Mile in 1977, allegedly met some of the young boys he sexually abused through its programs.

The Second Mile, a charity for at-risk children founded by former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, has filed paperwork seeking to transfer its operations to a Texas-based Christian nonprofit, saying its association with the man at the center of a child sex abuse case has undercut its support.

In a statement Friday, the State College, Pa., charity?s interim CEO, David Woodle, said that accusations that Sandusky, 68, sexually abused young boys he met through Second Mile, had damaged the charity?s ability to raise money and attract volunteers and caused referring social service agencies to rethink sending at-risk kids to its programs.

In an interview with the Centre Daily Times, which first reported the story, Woodle called the proposed transfer ?a positive step in a very negative overall situation.??



?Over the past several months, representatives of The Second Mile ? have been in discussions with parents, school partners and donors to determine what steps should be taken after criminal charges were announced against founder Gerald Sandusky,? the statement said. The board learned that there is overwhelming support for the programs, but that there would not be adequate support, including financial, from donors, volunteers and referring social service agencies to continue The Second Mile as its own entity.??

The statement said Second Mile, founded by Sandusky in 1977, had petitioned the Court of Common Pleas in Centre County to allow it to transfer approximately $2 million in cash assets, an ongoing endowment and program-related non-case assets to Houston-based Arrow Child & Family Ministries to fund programs in Pennsylvania for about two years.?

During that period, Second Mile would continue to cooperate with authorities in connection with the criminal charges against Sandusky before eventually dissolving.?

Second Mile said its directors selected Arrow after discussions with more than 15 organizations.?

"Our priority is to ensure children continue to be served by these programs," the statement quoted Arrow founder Mark Tennant as saying. "We were shocked and saddened by the events that led us here, but we are committed to the future of these children and their families and look forward to building on the outstanding work done by so many individuals who have been a part of The Second Mile over the years."?

The statement indicated that it could take several months for the court to rule on its petition.?

Sandusky has pleaded not guilty to 52 criminal counts of alleged abuse of 10 boys over 15 years, some of whom were Second Mile clients. Jury selection is scheduled to start June 5.

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