Thanks to Penn State Football, the Open Wounds of the Sandusky Scandal Still Fester

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October 2, 2015; Centre Daily Times (State College, PA)

Sometimes, you really have to wonder about the judgment of people who should know better. Penn State University had planned to honor Bruce Heim, a graduate of West Point where he played football and an MBA graduate of Penn State, at the Penn State-Army football game scheduled for October 3rd. The plan was for Heim, a decorated war veteran, to represent Army during the coin toss.

Heim has another identity that doesn’t quite measure up to being honored at the Penn State game. He was a board member of Second Mile, the children’s charity where founder Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, recruited, solicited, and sexually abused at-risk young boys. Sandusky is now serving a long jail sentence for the multiple instances of sexual abuse.

The announcement of the plan to honor Heim generated a tidal wave of social media protest due to Heim’s role as vice-chair of the Second Mile board during much of the Sandusky perfidy. As the crescendo grew, Penn State president Eric Barron finally rescinded the invitation to Heim for the coin toss, explaining that Heim’s “participation in Saturday’s coin toss ceremony…reopened deep wounds in our community that do not involve his service to country.”

Heim didn’t take the decision kindly. Complaining about the “uninformed few who attacked my personal and professional integrity,” Heim said in a statement, “It is important to know that despite extensive and thorough investigation by five separate regulatory groups both state and federal, neither I nor any employees of The Second Mile were ever charged for a very simple reason. We did not know and were not complicit.”

It is true that the sexual abuse was Sandusky’s, not Heim’s. But Heim and the board may have abetted Sandusky by their inaction. In fact, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Heim, the biggest donor to Second Mile, has admitted that he saw Sandusky showering with children many times. Why didn’t he act? He told the Post-Gazette that he didn’t think Sandusky was pedophile. He also said that “every day at the YMCA, men shower with kids.”

The 74-year-old Heim seems to have not seen what he chose not to see, but another dimension of the Second Mile issue concerning Heim’s role is just as troubling. According to the Post-Gazette, Heim acknowledged that “he advised former Second Mile director Jack Raykovitz not to alert fellow board members when he was informed by former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley that Sandusky was seen in a shower with a child.” Why? Apparently because Heim said Raykovitz told him that Penn State had already investigated on its own and concluded that Sandusky had done nothing wrong in the showers with the kids.

Heim’s conclusion is, since no one but Sandusky was arrested and jailed, that “Second Mile didn’t do anything wrong.” That is about as wrong an analysis as one could conjure, given that Sandusky’s abuse continued for years, and despite several clues, no one intervened until a young assistant coach at Penn State brought his suspicions to former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

The relevant issue is what was going through the minds of the Penn State administrators who concocted the plan to honor Heim. Apparently, no one on the 25-person committee at Penn State had a second thought about potential issues in honoring Heim. Until the social media protest, the Penn Staters seem to have agreed with Heim, who said, “Nobody in the Second Mile had any inkling that he had done anything wrong…. If you don’t believe it, then why hasn’t there been one charge brought against the Second Mile?” That isn’t the question. Sandusky was the sexual abuser. The Second Mile board was guilty, however, not of sexual abuse, but of being deaf, dumb, and blind—sort of like some senior people at Penn State as well during the Sandusky scandal. It would appear that the Penn State committee that invited Heim was also a bit insensitive to the open wounds that still fester from the scandal involving Sandusky, Second Mile, and Penn State itself.—Rick Cohen

  • smokeybandit

    Wait, what? “Thanks to Penn State Football” yet the entire article is about someone at The Second Mile?

    Holy clickbait, Batman.

  • Carole Vail

    Terribly inaccurate headline – the football program had nothing to do with selecting Heim. Real journalists, unlike lazy hacks, get their facts straight and don’t mislead the public.

  • markvidpa

    So this is Penn State football’s fault.
    Just like it was never the PA State Police, Tom Corbett, PSU BOT, all who did nothing while knowing facts. But hey, no big names there to take down, so crickets.

    • today2

      Exactly.

  • “The Second Mile board was guilty, however, not of sexual abuse, but of being deaf, dumb, and blind….” Exactly correct. There were multiple governance failures and conflicts of interest at The Second Mile. See: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2011/11/29/lessons-to-be-learned-from-sanduskys-second-mile-charity-issues-in-nonprofit-governance/

    • Mr. Wyland,
      There are a few other things that have come to light since your original posting on the charity’s and conflicts of interest.

      In 2009, the charity’s board decided to keep silent about Sandusky’s abuse finding so that he could continue raising money for the charity. The charity was required to get the county to approve its plan of supervision – to keep Sandusky from accessing children – after learning of his finding. They failed to do so and, as a result of its ineffective/unapproved plan, two Second Mile participants were abused. Obviously, this would fall into the category of a conflict of interest, as money trumped safety.

      The composition of the charity’s Board of Directors was “long” on individuals with interests in construction, real estate, and finance but “short” on individuals with the requisite background in child welfare. Again, the conflict of interest was that the charity was in the throws of a fundraising campaign to build a Taj Mahal like Center For Excellence, which had a 35 year plan of expansion attached to it. Mr. Heim was a local real estate executive. The Chairman of the TSM Board, Robert Poole “won” the contract to build the “Taj Mahal.” The charity’s IRS 990 forms show payments to Poole and other board members for their work on the project.

  • today2

    Wait, what? PSU football didn’t do anything.

    So, PSU football is to blame for trying to be considerate and acknowledging this gentleman was connected by being on board for Second Mile?

    If PSU had invited him and honored him, then this hack journalist would be writing this same article.

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t with idiots like this author Rick Cohen.

    • Appears you didn’t do your homework.
      PSU football didn’t invite Bruce Heim. PSU’s Strategic Communications Committee did. The Athletic Department didn’t get a vote.

  • 1. Heim was invited by Penn State’s Strategic Communications Committee, which was composed of 25 people. Amazing that a “strategic” committee would make this choice, but apparently most were unaware of Mr. Heim’s past.
    2. Once you read beyond the title, the author does a decent job pointing out TSM’s culpability in the scandal.
    Let’s hope there are some follow-up articles as more information is learned.

    • Catalacjack

      The part that keeps getting missed is according to PA Statute 42.42 the people who were in charge of reporting to the police were those who were in charge of the child. The child in the shower was not from a sports camp operated by PSU. We do not know if Curley, and company ever knew the name of the child. So they assume the child was from TSM, and go there to tell Raykovitz. We now know that what Raykovitz was told was serious enough NOT to tell the other BOT members of TSM. We also know Raykovitz KNEW about 1998, and was told Sandusky should not be showering with children. So 3 years later he is told Sandusky is back to his old ways, and he does nothing. Even when PA Statute 42.42 says he MUST report.

      • TonyTruth

        So you guys argue that McQueary only said there was horseplay to Curley and so not worth reporting but that TSM knew more? ROFL. Anything you try to pin on TSM about 2001 will come right back to PSU as well. It can’t be that Curley knew only about horseplay but Raykovitz knew it was reportable abuse. What a bunch of buck passing clowns you all are!

        • Catalacjack

          Tony you really are blind Raykovitz was told in 1998 by the “services” investigating Sandusky, that Sandusky should not shower with children. Raykovitz took that to mean to not shower “Naked” with children, so Raykovitz tells Sandusky to “wear a bathing suit” when showering with boys. Curley, Schultz, Spanier, nor Joe were there when “services” told Raykovitz not to let Sandusky shower with kids. So three years later the moment Curley mentioned Sandusky, boy and shower in the same paragraph Raykovitz should have immediately known he had troubles after all he was a trained and certified psychologist. But there was the problem that Raykovitz and Sandusky were close friends.

  • wensilver

    First off – you have a typo – it should read “had not done wrong”.

    Mr. Heim, and Dr. Jack Raykovitz, among others at Second Mile – had a fiduciary duty to their charity – as well as a duty of care and oversight to those minor clients – and have been completely and utterly silent; and deaf to our complaints for years in all this, until this coin toss controversy popped up.

    The leadership at the Second Mile tossed a coin back in 2001, and elected to keep PSU’s complaint hidden from TSM Board at large and TSM staffers. Had they called that coin toss correctly, instead of violating state mandate, we’d not be where we are today.

    Mr. Heim has got to be the most clueless man in Pennsylvania if he thinks he can stroll out onto a Penn State Athletic Department football field, in front of 10’s of thousands of Penn Staters that are well informed on the Second Mile scandal and be applauded, while it was his charity’s silence and failures that allowed our corrupt Office of Attorney General, Louis “no subpoena power” Freeh, optics-driven NCAA & the hyenas in the media to wheel a flaming dumpster fire of epic proportions onto that athletic department’s doorstep. An athletic department is still dealing with the financial fallout – while former Second Mile officials gad about town, not a care in the world.

    Meanwhile, 10’s of thousands of Penn Staters have been subjected to vile, insulting sewage that still flows across our social media streams and in our social settings; calling us Child Rape Enabling JoeBot Paternopologist Kool Aid Cultists if we dare ask questions. Since Mr. Heim did not speak out in 2011 against the media horde; nor in 2012 against Louis Freeh’s false narrative; nor in 2013 against Linda Kelly’s proven inflammatory presentment, nor over the past 4 years on Old Main’s mistreatment of Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz & Dr. Spanier; he can join the rest of us that get insulted each day.

    Very much like the Board of the Milton Hershey School Trust that was predominately populated by NON-educational and NON-child welfare professionals and the ensuing scandal of self-interests and plundering there, the Board of the Second Mile children’s charitable non-profit was predominately populated by NON-child welfare & child advocacy professionals.

    It’s time the bright, disinfecting light of sunshine and transparency shined on Second Mile.

  • Mike Knone

    The Second Mile was Sandusky’s employer in 2001. Enough said.

  • Rebecca D Knowles

    So with no Penn State football, there would be no coin toss. Hence no opportunity for yet another bone-headed decision by PSU decision-makers. Hence the clearly moved-on State College community (including the PSU alum) would have remained content that all things relating to Jerry Sandusky are settled and make complete sense.

    Wow. With no Penn State football, there would have been no Coach Sandusky, summer football camps on campus, or even the Lasch Building showers!!! THIS must have been the message the NCAA attempted to send.

    Oh, but wait. What of Penn State Wrestling??? This program could have provided a Coach Sandusky, summer camps, and shower facilities. I guess this thought-process explains why the NCAA eventually said “Never mind. Play ball.”

    Oh well. Maybe we can all go back to sleep now.