Jerry Sandusky’s Second Mile Charity May Be as Culpable as Penn State

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There’s no need to explain to NPQ Newswire readers about Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant coach charged with sexually abusing young children entrusted to his care—and at a program for “at-risk” children at a nonprofit he founded called Second Mile, no less. In the wake of these allegations, detailed in a grand jury report, the president of Penn State University, Graham Spanier, and the now less than iconic coach of the Penn State football team, Joe Paterno, have lost their jobs for having participated in what looks to have been a cover-up. Other Penn State heads may also roll—as well they should—but that doesn’t undo what is alleged to have happened to young kids at the hands of Sandusky.

But what about Second Mile? What do we know? And where is it now? It requires a deeper investigation than we can give it here, but a few interesting dynamics have emerged:

  • Sandusky established Second Mile in 1977 to help “at-risk” kids in Central Pennsylvania, though over the years Second Mile expanded statewide. When the news came out that Sandusky was spotted raping a 10-year-old boy in the Penn State showers, few people mentioned that the boy was African American. The victims, we suspect, were largely from African-American families, faced with the challenge of reporting a white football coach hero working for a white football coach icon (Paterno) at a virtually untouchable university. Just consider this description of Sandusky’s MO at the nonprofit: “Sandusky, who is married, usually met his victims, the grand jury report said, in their second year at Second Mile camps on the Penn State campus, when they were 7 to 12 years old. He gave them lavish gifts, took them to Eagles games, Penn State practices and home games. They often stayed overnight at the Sandusky home, sleeping in the basement. Sandusky would then initiate sexual encounters with the boys in a basement bedroom, Penn State locker room showers and other athletic facilities, according to the grand jury report”.
  • The focus on “Joe Pa” has unfortunately taken away attention from the victims of this situation, the children who were participants in Sandusky’s Second Mile charity programs. If you need a description of what happened to the eight victims identified in the grand jury report, read this report from the International Business Times. Fox 29 News reports that another nine victims have come forward or come to the attention of the Pennsylvania State Police.
  • The Second Mile was aware of several of the charges of child abuse, one going back to 1998, the first of at least three incidents brought to the attention of Second Mile officials. However, others at Second Mile behaved much like Sandusky’s former colleagues at Penn State and did nothing. Details of Second Mile’s awareness of allegations against Sandusky are in this Post-Gazette article. These reports, however, contradict Second Mile’s clearly dishonest contention that it was never aware of any allegations about Sandusky with Second Mile kids.
  • As of last week, Sandusky’s name disappeared from the Second Mile website. Particularly poignant is the removal of this line from the Second Mile history: “Since 1977, The Second Mile has followed the path of its founder, Jerry Sandusky, to help Pennsylvania’s children achieve their potential . . .” In Sandusky’s autobiographical book Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story, published in 2000, he explained why he created the organization: “I didn’t understand why everyone didn’t have the same opportunities that I did, and it bothered me.” Like the Penn State students still standing by “Joe Pa,” there are Second Milers speaking up for Sandusky, such as a booster of the program from York who, according to the York Dispatch, said that “he doesn’t think people should forget all the lives Sandusky has touched in a positive way”.
  • Several sports and Hollywood celebrities have had their names associated with Second Mile as members of its “honorary board,” including former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr., former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, golfer Arnold Palmer, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris, former Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jack Ham, and actor Mark Wahlberg. Ripken and Holtz have had their names removed from the Second Mile website. According to a spokesman for Ripken from his foundation, “In the nonprofit world, people end up on an honorary board and sometimes they don’t even know they’re on it. It doesn’t really mean anything.”
  • Although former Penn State linebacker, NFL player, and Detroit Lions President and CEO Matt Millen was identified by his current employer, ESPN, as having been an honorary board member, both GuideStar and Second Mile’s form 990s identify Millen as a member of the governing board. Like Harris, Millen appeared on television to ask that viewers judge Joe Paterno for his overall history at the school, not just this one event, though Millen gave his statement amid tears. The lists of board members and honorary board members have disappeared from the Second Mile website, but as a courtesy we offer the names of the official governing board as posted by GuideStar, to ask whether these people knew what their responsibilities might have been to the children in Second Mile’s care and their families:

Second City Governing Board Member

Institutional Affiliation

David Woodle

 Chairman & CEO, NanoHorizons, Inc.

Clyde Shuman

 Principal, Precision Medical, Inc.

William Martin

Certified Financial Planner, uFinancial

Cliff Benson

 Retired, Deloitte Tax LLP

Donald Carlino

 President, Airgas Safety, Inc.

Sen. Jake Corman

 Pennsylvania State Senator

Neal DeAngelo

 Owner, DeAngelo Brothers, Inc.

Edward Dunklebarger

President, Susquehanna Bancshares, Inc.

Kenneth Ewing

 Retired, Hershey Foods Corporation

Michael Fiaschetti

Senior Vice President, Highmark Blue Shield

Michael Fiore

Executive Vice President, Leonard S. Fiore, Inc.

Linda Gall

 Community Volunteer

Anne Deeter Gallaher

 Owner, Deeter Gallaher Group LLC

Bruce Heim

Chairman, Keystone Real Estate Group, LP

Dorothy Huck

 Community Volunteer

Dick Kile

President, Tri-Emerald Financial Group

Tom Knepley

Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Techbldrs

Michael Kuntz

Vice President and General Manager, Turner Construction

Matt Millen

 ESPN Football Analyst,

Heidi Nicholas

Real Estate Developer & Manager, CEI, Inc.

Michael O’Donnell

Vice President, Wealth Advisor, Morgan Stanley

Kim Ortenzio-Nielsen

 Community Volunteer

Chuck Pearson

Retired, Bank Chairman, Waypoint Financial

Eric Peterson

CPA, Walz, Deihm, Geisenberger, Bucklen & Tennis

Alec Pringle

 Real Estate Appraiser/Developer/

Nancy Ring

 Realtor, REMAX Centre County

DrueAnne Schreyer

 Community Volunteer

Steve Seltzer

 President, Steve Seltzer Honda

Lauren Shank

Corporate Attorney and Community Volunteer

Louie Sheetz

Executive Vice President for Marketing, Sheetz, Inc.

Fred Strouse

 Realtor, Kissinger Bigatel Brower

Richard Struthers

 Retired, Bank of America

Michael Sullivan

 Owner, Automated Records Centre

Daryl Milliner

Regional Vice President, Paradigm Partners

Jerry Burton

 Certified Brain Specialist

Mark Greenberg

Director, The Prevention Research Center, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University

We neither understand “honorary boards” people don’t even know they’re on (Andy Reid’s contention) nor large governing boards like Second Mile’s, where members were able to go simultaneously blind, deaf, and dumb when it came to even sensing that there might be something a little odd in Jerry Sandusky’s interpersonal relationships and overall behavior with the Second Mile kids. There is a moral responsibility faced by this board for potentially having ignored information about Sandusky that other people around the country or even in Pennsylvania were picking up on and reporting.

Anyone reading this has to be disgusted by the alleged behavior of Sandusky and the serial inaction by Paterno and others at Penn State. Paterno’s various statements reveal his interest: to protect the university rather than the children, allegedly molested over the years by the former assistant coach who had “retired” from Penn State in 1999 (after he was caught showering naked with a kid at Penn State) but still had the run of the facilities and an office there as an emeritus professor.

But what about Second Mile? Are we to believe that from 1977 to 2010 or 2011, no one—except the kids—had an inkling of troubling behavior by Sandusky? Are we to give Second Mile board members and staff the kind of pass for their inaction on specific reports the way that Paterno thought he could slide by at Penn State? Are we to assume that the prosecutors who let Sandusky off over the years when presented with specific charges and evidence didn’t think of taking a look at the organization at which Sandusky allegedly procured his victims?

Anyone who understands the patterns of sexual abuse has to realize that if eight victims have been identified in the grand jury report—and maybe nine more have been identified to the police since the news about Sandusky went public—knows that the numbers have to be much higher and will probably include children whose families didn’t and won’t come forward. Anyone who knows anything about the sexual abuse of children must be aware of the deep psychological scars this will have caused. The victims of child sexual abuse have much higher rates of depression, alcoholism, drug use, and suicide than the general public. Penn State may be found culpable for providing the facilities for some of Sandusky’s alleged acts of molestation, and Paterno may need to hire a criminal defense attorney, but Second Mile may be no less culpable than Paterno (or than Penn State President Graham Spanier and Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary—who witnessed one of the alleged rapes). It may very well turn out that Second Mile board members and senior staff turned a blind eye to the abuse of children under their care. 


  • Nikki Kirk

    Maybe these men weren’t touched by Sandusky, but the charity and the institution knew about him and dirty deeds. They all should share the blame and there will be a long list of victims and bystanders when this sad situation ends.

    We all know people like this, and we sit by and say nothing because its not our business. If you don’t know anyone like this you are lucky or ignorant.

  • armande cohen

    Don’t you think there’s something a bit amiss in pointing fingers of blame at the Second Mile’s leadership (the higher up, the more power), while the name Jack Raykovitz is glaringly absent from the roll call? Dave Woodle just stepped in as head as of yesterday, while Raykovitz (former CEO and President) is left. True his wife, Katherine Genovese is still there in the capacity of second-in-command.

    But say doesn’t that raise a few eyebrows too?

    Which reminds me – when I saw your name, I had hopes you were going to address the newly opened (but very important) issue of The Second Mile’s book-keeping.

    And what about that? I read elsewhere that the PA Attorney General was going to investigate alleged fiscal irregularities there – perhaps in their fund raising, and compensation packages and perhaps even their Tax returns.

    I find it extraordinary that Raykovitz alone was taking home such a huge package, considering both the size of the charity and the fact that he works at least a half week (probably much more) for Mid-STEP, the SCASD and consulting. (And perhaps someone would be kind enough to make these figures more specific?).

    I just spent almost an hour on web-sites dedicated to analyzing charity efficiency and comparative CEO packages, which called my attention to how high these two CEO packages stand (Raykovitz and Genovese), relative to much larger charities (The Red Cross and The Salvation Army, to name but two). What do you,

  • Kevin Corbett

    Who is responsible to provide the oversight to Nonprofits. Self policing obviously does not work and someone must be auditing the activities to ensure these children are safe.

  • rick cohen

    Dear Armande: Thanks and we agree. I didn’t specifically mention the ED by name, but my last paragraph and others made it clear that the responsibility was both executives and board. And I agree there’s much more to the story re finances, accounting, governance (see my newswire on Second Mile that was published earlier this week). We’d love to dig into this story further. Thanks for prompting us.

  • rick cohen

    Dear Kevin: I’ve written lots about self-policing in the nonprofit sector and other sectors ( and have not come away impressed with the results. There has to be some element of self-regulation, but there has to be strengthened governmental oversight. In the cases of both Second Mile and Penn State, the state clearly fell down on the job (take a look at my newswire earlier this week the governor’s role as AG and then governor vis-a-vis the Second Mile investigations).

  • Brooke Barrett

    Kudos to NPQ for addressing all of these points so directly and candidly. As a long-time non-profit sector employee/er and board member, I firmly believe that the board must be called to account and that the organization has responsibility to the children and families injured through one of its board members/staff.
    As a point of responsible governance, the board should have liability insurance that should “make whole” the survivors (NOT “victims”) and their families.