Restoring Paterno’s Penn State Wins Is Still a Loss for Sandusky’s Victims

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Joe Paterno

January 16, 2015; Patriot-News

Joe Paterno is once again the winningest coach in the history of college football. The NCAA had vacated his Penn State victories as part of the settlement agreement with the school because of Penn State’s, and specifically Paterno’s failure to report information known to the coach and to other school officials about child predator Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of young boys on and off the Penn State campus. The victories were restored as a result of a suit filed by Pennsylvania Senate majority leader Jake Corman, a Republican from Bellefonte and a Penn State graduate himself.

That’s nice for the Paterno family, we guess. It seems to us, though, that Paterno, who was the most powerful person on Penn State’s campus bar none (including university president Graham Spanier) might have had many opportunities to spot something about his assistant coach’s unusual predilection for young boys, though he was looking at a guy like Sandusky who was operating with a child services nonprofit that had the bona fides of officials in state government agencies and of child welfare professionals. It would have been a tough call, to be sure.

For that matter, Paterno might have had the chance to do something, like when he was told by Mike McQueary (then a grad student; later, to become assistant coach) that he had encountered Sandusky with a kid in the showers, though the specifics of what McQueary actually said or didn’t say and how he said it to Paterno have been reported in different, contradictory ways. It is what it is. Paterno is back at 409 college football victories, and in the end, Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of sexual assault concerning 10 boys over a period of 15 years.

What still rankles is that though Paterno and Penn State have been restored, nothing can really be done to restore the lost childhoods of Jerry Sandusky’s victims. Scores of commentators have expressed outrage at the strenuous efforts undertaken on behalf of “Penn State Nation,” as opposed to the equally strenuous efforts of many in the sports world and among Penn State supporters to put it all behind them. However, serious, official efforts aimed at Sandusky’s nonprofit, The Second Mile, seem to be lacking—despite vocal complaints from citizens that the nonprofit has basically escaped scrutiny for its responsibilities.

Where do Jerry Sandusky’s victims go to get their innocence back?” asked Kevin Scarbinsky, sports columnist for Alabama Media Group. ESPN’s Keith Olbermann pulled no punches in his commentary: “This is Penn State’s legacy. Football was more important to them than saving children.” The editorial board of the Reading Eagle offered this summary: “There are some things that, once lost, no legal settlement can restore. Things like lost innocence. Things like lost childhoods.”

But after all the attention to Penn State, what about the nonprofit Sandusky founded, The Second Mile? Remember, while Sandusky may have perpetrated some of his abuse at Penn State, he found and recruited all of his victims through the nonprofit, ostensibly meant to help disadvantaged youth, though no one would have expected Sandusky’s kind of help.

Unlike Penn State, The Second Mile went out of business, ultimately requesting the court to approve the transfer of its remaining $300,000 in assets to the Texas-based Arrow Child & Family Ministries. While Second Mile is out of the picture as a human service provider as a result of Sandusky, it’s still not totally dead—last year, it requested the court’s permission to sell the property it was going to use for its headquarters to a private developer for $1 million.

What consequences were there for the directors and overseers of the nonprofit, who might have been in positions to know as much about Sandusky’s predatory behavior as Paterno and his colleagues at Penn State? Jack Raykovitz, hand-picked by Sandusky to run the nonprofit, was forced by the Second Mile board to resign immediately, and the number two person at the organization, Katherine Genovese, Raykovitz’s wife, was laid off not long after as Second Mile’s financial support largely evaporated. Nothing has given the leadership of The Second Mile the experience of a perp walk. As Pennsylvania veterinarian and Penn State graduate Elizabeth Morgan was quoted as saying in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Somebody is covering up for Jerry Sandusky and the Second Mile, and that needs to come out.”

Let’s see what didn’t happen regarding Second Mile. Penn State contracted for a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh—a controversial product in and of itself, but at least there was an investigation and report. For Second Mile, it was former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, currently a candidate for mayor, who received the report assignment, but it wasn’t like Freeh’s charge to figure out what went wrong at Penn State. Abraham was apparently contracted in 2011 to focus on whether The Second Mile could continue to operate after the Sandusky imbroglio, though Abraham gave it a more aggressive cast at the time, saying:

“We will be looking into who knew? What did they know? When did they know it? And what did they do? Sandusky certainly let this happen. Some people were aware. Who were they, and why didn’t they act in an appropriate fashion by informing the police?”

Although Abraham formally ended her investigation within a year, without delivering a report, the Philadelphia Daily News’s Will Bunch reported recently that the former DA had actually “withdrawn from the matter within weeks after her role was announced.” One of her law partners said that they had concluded that no report was necessary and Abraham’s actual involvement had been “very limited.” The importance of the lack of investigation cannot be overstated. While much of the abuse may have happened on Penn State facilities, the children Sandusky molested were the responsibility of The Second Mile.

Moreover, Raykovitz, as the executive director, state-mandated reporter of suspected child abuse (per the Pennsylvania State Code), and a trained psychologist, might have been in a position to notice something odd about Sandusky and his relationship with the boys, might have been able to pick up on Sandusky’s pattern of behavior (pedophiles typically “groom” their victims), and, after being told about the shower sex incident by Penn State’s Curley, could have and perhaps should have put two and two together and contacted the police or other authorities of his own volition.

Somehow, Second Mile and its key people have escaped the scrutiny that the organization seems to deserve. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s investigation of how the Sandusky case was handled explicitly did not address “the general efficacy or propriety of the operations of The Second Mile,” or more specifically, “the question of whether The Second Mile, which no longer operates any programs, or any individual associated with The Second Mile, may have violated the law.” Why not?

As a youth assistance organization, Second Mile was overseen and reviewed by state agencies, and the state’s oversight and investigations of Second Mile, if there had been any, were as significant as its police and judicial investigations. Even in Kane’s report, the telltale hints are there:

  • In a search of Sandusky’s home, investigators found “several typed lists of Second Mile participants, with the names of some participants highlighted with hand-written asterisks.” (p. 21) 
  • In 2008, the head of the Clinton County Children and Youth Services informed Genovese that “he was suspending his office’s relationship with The Second Mile because an allegation of sexual abuse had been made against someone from The Second Mile.” According to the CYS director, Genovese “surmised” it was Sandusky, but in a response submitted to Kane’s office by Raykovitz and Genovese, Raykovitz met with Sandusky the next day and Sandusky “indicated” that he was being investigated. If Raykovitz knew enough to immediately meet with Sandusky the day after the CYS visit, or if Genovese simply surmised that it was Genovese, there’s an indication that Sandusky’s odd behavior had been noticed. (p. 36)
  • In a footnote, the report noted that the Office of the Attorney General filed a motion of contempt against The Second Mile in July 2011 because of Second Mile’s “failure to produce certain records that had been subpoenaed back in January of 2011.” Second Mile reported that the records were missing and could not be found, but after the hearing and reaching an agreement on a plan to find the documents, some of the missing records were found after all. On p. 123, the report notes that the OAG noted that there was an “‘uncooperative atmosphere’ encompassing some Penn State University and Second Mile officials.” (p. 85)
  • Although Kane dismisses the importance of this question, the investigators (and the press) found campaign contributions to then-Attorney General, later Governor Tom Corbett’s election campaign from state and regional board members of The Second Mile. The suspicion was that either, “first, that investigators were directed to steer clear of The Second Mile, either as a source of information about Sandusky victims or as a potential subject of criminal charges; second, that Attorney General Corbett strung the investigation along in order to realize additional campaign contributions before offending Second Mile board members by exposing the existence of the investigation or by bringing charges against Sandusky.” (pp. 110-111) Even if Kane thinks that the contributions weren’t a factor, they should have made for a deeper investigation of Second Mile.

The fact that the victims, all identified by initials rather than names in the report, were Second Mile kids makes this nonprofit and its leadership responsible in some manner for Sandusky’s depredations. The organization should have been subjected to an investigation as deep as any review of Penn State, because Second Mile is where the sexual abuse was rooted and groomed.

Second Mile deserved a thorough investigation for its culpability in the Sandusky mess. It never happened, and it may never happen. Penn State is high profile, with a cast of larger-than-life college football icons including characters like Paterno and Sandusky himself, but the roots of Sandusky’s crimes were in the nonprofit he founded and operated from. The NCAA may have restored lost football victories to the records of Penn State and the late Coach Paterno, but the state of Pennsylvania, Second Mile’s nonprofit peers, and the American public seem to have let Second Mile off the hook for its role in Sandusky’s heinous crimes.—Rick Cohen

This piece has been modified to incorporate corrections regarding what was and was not told to certain Penn State and Second Mile personnel regarding the charges of Sandusky’s sexual abuse of young boys.

  • random

    It’s also a loss for the media who still has no clue about the Sandusky scandal. The media who continues to blame Paterno who did EXACTLY what the NCAA suggests a coach do to. The media who conveniently ignores the charity in which all of Sandusky’s victims came from. Oh, the same charity STARTED BY SANDUSKY.

    Nope, more fun to try to strut some high and mighty holier than thou posture and blame Paterno. That’s why the victims are losing, because no one wants to hunt down the REAL reasons why Sandusky went unfettered for years.

  • Rick Cohen

    Dear Random: The article we ran calls exactly for that, an investigation into The Second Mile, where Sandusky found, recruited, and groomed his victims. While Paterno and his Penn State colleagues all failed to do things that they could have and should have done, my article focuses on The Second Mile and its having escaped the scrutiny that the Penn State coterie got.

  • Chris M

    Forever sick of the media….This should be at the top of every news article about the Penn State and NCAA reversal of the sactions. “The reversal of the NCAA sanctions on Penn State had nothing to do with Joe Paterno and restoring of his wins. The reversal of the NCAA sanctions had to do with the NCAA illegally sanctioning Penn State in the first place. The purpose of the legal case was to try to keep the $60 million dollar fine within the state of PA. While investigating the case, it was determined that the NCAA had no authority to implement the sanctions in the first place. Penn State could have chosen to return the money back to the school but decided there was still a need to help rescued children so it is keeping the money ear marked for that purpose.” There will never be real journalism in this country again. You never hear the truth anymore. Just write whatever you think people will grasp on to regardless if it’s the truth or not.

  • Chris M

    What facts do you have that Paterno failed to do things that he could have and should have done? He did exactly what NCAA’s rules now state he should do. To date there is no evidence Paterno did anything wrong.

  • Billyboy172

    Maybe this writer of this article and the people he sites should have a read of this just penned today in response to Keith Olberman.

    It would do the media some good to get some facts straight instead of just regurgitating to lies.


  • Chris M

    “Paterno’s failure to report information known to the coach and to other school officials about child predator Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of young boys on and off the Penn State campus.” false – Paterno reported it right away to his superiors, what he was told. Did exactly what new NCAA guidelines say he should do.

    “Mike McQueary (then, a grad student; later, to become assistant coach) that he had encountered Sandusky anally raping a kid.” – McQueary didn’t tell Joe he saw Sandusky raping a boy. He said he saw what he felt was inappropriate touching. Sandusky was not convicted of raping this boy.

    You like Olberman…try reading the rebuttal.

    “Penn State has done the following to help these children and others like them:
    the Blue Out, the student-run, student-created organization that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for child abuse charities since November 2011. The Penn State Center for the Protection of Children, which the university founded and operates with its own money to help children in need. Penn State is still giving the $60 million fine to child sexual abuse charities in Pennsylvania. Heck, even this “fan site” raised thousands of dollars last year for Bands4RAINN, a great charity that helps sexual abuse victims. ” from above link.

  • Rick Cohen

    Dear Chris M and Random: I didn’t say that Paterno did or didn’t do what the NCAA required. Sometimes there is something more important than doing something merely to the letter of the law (or in this case, the letter of the NCAA rules). Sometimes, the issue is what you should do as a person. There’s no question to me that Paterno was probably stunned by what he was told by McQueary, and reports have indicated that Paterno was naive about the kind of stuff that Sandusky was clearly doing. But for the sake of the kids who were abused by Sandusky, any and all actions should have been taken, not just to comply with the letter of the NCAA rules, but to stop Sandusky in his tracks and get him away from anyone to do harm. Once again, I say to both of you, my article was using the NCAA reversal to ask, why the focus on Penn State and not on The Second Mile–which Sandusky established and where he found his victims?

  • Ellwood

    It’s hard to take your opinion seriously where you have the basic facts wrong.

  • David Fields

    I stopped reading as soon as it said that McQuery had witnessed and told Joe about Sandusky anally raping a child. That is not what he saw or what he told Paterno. If you don’t have the facts correct then the story is skewed from the beginning. I feel horrible for the kids that had to endure a painful childhood at the hands of a pedophile, but that does not make it ok to point the finger at whoever is convenient. Giving wins back to the people who earned them doesn’t do harm to victims of Sandusky. Sandusky is locked up as he should be. The victims should feel good about that!

  • Joe Davis

    Please Please Please do some homework,research or least make an effort to read up on something before spewing out this crap. Don’t get your facts or your insight from other lazy sports hacks who are in such a hurry to give their self righteous “tale” on things but like the guy who doesn’t listen and is just waiting to talk really doesn’t know what is really going on,really know the facts and certainly doesn’t care as long as he can get on his soapbox. FFS you guys are still getting the FACTS wrong??? Go ahead …be different….actually know what you’re writing about

  • Tobiasized

    Rick, in all honesty I think this is one of the best pieces of NON FACTUAL writing that I have ever had the displeasure of reading. I’m still trying not to throw up in my mouth. You call yourself, or title yourself as being a member of the media, well I guess you just joined the league with Dan Bernstein, and Keith Olbermann, who are two more ill informed members who need to be schooled in knowing your facts before you put pen, or in this case your fingers to a keyboard. One day I hope you will spend even a week doing research on this whole tragic event that took place, and maybe then you will be better informed before you put out another piece of trash like the one above. Please ask yourself, why haven’t you blown now former Governor Tom Corbett out of the water for his lack of putting Sandusky behind bars while he was in charge of the investigation? Yes, Tom Corbett who took in over $500,000 in campaign contributions from the Second Mile, assuming you know that the Second Mile was Jerry Sandusky’s rescue haven for children. How could a man in charge of a criminal investigation like Corbett take funny money from Sandusky’s own Board Members for a run at becoming Governor??? Wake up Rick, there are so many other facts you are missing, so many other people that need to be held accountable, like CYS, if you don’t know what that stands for it’s “Child Youth Services”, who like Corbett left Sandusky go, and they are trained professionals and are supposed to know and how to spot a sexual predator. But, I guess being the naive and lazy reporter, or journalist like you are you just used what little, non factual garbage that was reported by other clueless and gutless hacks that walk the beat, and you can only point a finger at Joe Paterno, the one man who did, IN FACT, report what he was told to his immediate supervisors, which also if you knew anything is now the STANDARD that the NCAA is telling everyone to do if anything sexual ever happens again on any campus! Joe followed the law, the Cleary Act, look it up, learn something, and by going any further he would have given grounds for a case against Sandusky to be thrown out of court. Please do some research and please learn some facts, and maybe even did and do some real reporting, go ahead, what are you afraid of, you won’t get fired for reporting facts, you might even win an award………

  • Ellwood

    And it’s sad because you might be looking in the right place for answers no one wants to ask…

  • Ellwood

    The writers are not journalist anymore. They are advocates, each pushing their agenda.

  • Ellwood

    “In a search of Sandusky’s home, investigators found “several typed lists of Second Mile participants, with the names of some participants highlighted with hand-written asterisks.”

    This fact was known and reported before the trial. But I have yet heard only one explanation, and you won’t like it at all.

  • DougF

    Parerno reported what he knew. Your article has many inaccuracies that are unfair. Time is revealing the truth. And thee is much more to be revealed.

  • Mark Kubiske

    Wow. Just wow. Where have you been? Mike McQueary never ever ever, not one time, claimed that he saw JS raping a young boy. The preliminary hearing transcripts of Spanier, Schultz and Curley, the trial transcripts of JS, every testimony McQ, they are all available for public viewing. Did you bother to look at any of them? What about Mercenary Louis Freeh’s report? Even that discredited document did not claim McQ witnesed rape. I stopped reading your article after I saw that. You really need to educate yourself on facts before writing your opinion. You also need to know that there is no evidence that Paterno or the other officials mentioned were aware of the extent of JS’s crimes. Neither were high school officials where the boys attended, Second Mile workers, County Child Protective Services, State Department of Public Welfare, or the numerous people who allowed JS to adopt 6 children and house numerous other foster children. And you expect a college football coach to somehow “know” by virtue of his omniscience!

    You really should find something else to spend your time on. Writing opinion pieces is not a good fit for you.

  • Nittany_PSU

    These wins were by athletes that had NOTHING to do with any of this!!!!

  • A. Isaacson

    As the courageous Alycia Chambers, Ph.D. noted, Jerry Sandusky showed all the classic “grooming” signs of being a child molester especially with his adoptive son to be.

    Sandusky’s adopted son, who later figured among the acknowledged victims, was a troubled child who attempted suicide after an arson attempt (classic “cry for help”). As a result, he was sent for court-ordered treatment with — ? Jack Raykovitz!

    If anyone was om a position to recognize this child was being abused it was Raykovitz, above all. (Was not his acting out a way of saying what he didn’t dare express verbally?) And yet, incredibly, Jack Raykovitz himself was the clinician who master-minded his eventual adoption by Sandusky. And this was approved over the strong objections of his mother herself, a powerless, impoverished woman to whom no one listened despite her heartbroken letters attempting to protect her son.

    This was a scandalous mishandling of professional discretion on Raykovitz’s part (even without the adoption case, he was legally obligated to report “known or suspected” child abuse). If even after far more limited acquaintance with his situation, Dr. Chambers recognized Sandusky’s true intentions, the youth’s private therapist, cannot fail to have been aware. The young man whose care was entrusted to him after grave acting out (he nearly took his own life) was reacting to serious mistreatment. His abuse by Sandusky was not only later validated in Court, he denied it at first out of trauma and shame, later apologizing to the Court, ashamed. But the shame belonged to Sandusky and Raykovitz who facilitated his adoption and Sandusky’s perfect access to him.

    And what reward might Raykovitz have reaped for vetting this nightmare adoption? Have his personal finances ever been examined? For one, apart from being awarded an outrageously high salary for such a small town charity (effectively, almost doubled once his wife was hired as second CEO), Raykovitz was, as the article remarks, hired by Sandusky himself who was the founder of The Second Mile.

    What a perfect factory the Second Mile was for Sandusky to select his most appealing and vulnerable prey! Connecting the dots, it seems likely Raykovitz was rewarded for OKing the adoption of this tragic youth – on the strength of his supposed expertise and intimate contact, as his court-appointed therapist.

    What’s more, still more shockingly (if this were a plot twist suggested for a potboiler, it would never have sold), the crucial records of Second Mile finances went MISSING for just the period in question! And just as they were to have been investigated!

    Reportedly, the then-State Attorney General was deeply interested in Raykovitz and the Second Mile’s mysterious funding back-story. How and why, she wondered had this one man escaped scrutiny? Why then did she let it drop, even when the records disappeared?

    In passing, for anyone interested in investigating these figures and their anomalous disappearance, it should be noted that Raykovitz’s high six digit salary at the Second Mile, was for only a PART-TIME job. He went from a modest lifestyle thirty years ago, to striking wealth, most recently acquired (the part that’s known) from lucrative consulting, a salaried job with the SCASD AND a private practice. Simultaneously.
    He’s gotten away with psychological murder, and at quite a profit, having never even had his license revoked. (He’s still in practice!) What’s more, his national consulting work was a direct result of his association with the famous PSU football program via Sandusky.

    Many, many things are wrong with this picture!

    And in a town right now reeling from another shameful revelation of how money can buy the appearance of innocence and cover-up even the greatest crimes. We are faced with the ugly vision, of thrice-elected Harris Township supervisor Christopher Lee, being nabbed for the second time in a decade for child molestation. Shockingly, the first incident was trivialized legally with an incredible ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition) write-off. (The powerless mother of the two brothers he fondled, same old same old, was unable to press for a serious treatment of the case), Then, within a matter of years, Lee actually arranged to HAVE THE ENTIRE CASE EXPUNGED FROM HIS RECORD! He wasn’t even listed as a sex offender!

    This time, 2014, he was finally caught in the act with a victim whose parents had the power to press the investigation. And it HAS become literally a federal case as the link below shows. (Dare we ask, how many victims there have been in-between the first – known – offense in 2005 and the recent one last year – a nine year period? Not counting whatever went on before 2005).

    When WILL this town feel and act on its shame at having a polluted legal system? “Happy Valley” for whom? For men rich enough to successfully hide their corruption, including even their sexual exploitation of the young. No wonder Joseph Amendola was called to defend both Lee and Sandusky, in his area of expertise.

  • Tim Berton

    Second Mile should be much more thoroughly investigated as should CYS and DPW. It is outrageous that DPW investigator Jerry Lauro missed all the grooming signs, missed reading the letter from the victim’s PhD psychologist listing the signs of grooming and took no precautions after Sandusky admitted to bear hugging at least two boys in the showers.

    Raykovitz should have been charged with failure to report for the 2001 report.

  • PSU Alum

    I have read virtually every word on the Sandusky affair since the rumors broke in that horrible November leading up to the indictment of Sandusky on child molestation charges. Yours is by a factor of 10 the best piece I’ve read on the subject. It gets to the heart of the matter for every informed PSU alum.

    The media’s relentless focus on a revered man, for profit, is not only sickening but also lets slide the dozens and dozens of professionally trained child services professionals with daily exposure to Sandusky and his actions. To punish Paterno for being the only person who acted appropriately in this whole mess, based on what he knew AT THE TIME, does more to hurt the victims than most anything else in this horrid saga.