Second Mile: Primer on Charity at Heart of Jerry Sandusky Penn State Scandal

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2011

Second Mile: Primer on Charity at Heart of Jerry Sandusky Penn State Scandal

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    The Second Mile.

    It's a charity caught in the middle of Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse scandal, but most people don't know much else about it.

    Like Penn State, the organization has gone through a lot of changes since the situation erupted last weekend, and it faces a myriad of challenges to repair its image. Second Mile's leadership has done everything within its power to distance themselves from Sandusky.

    But questions remain. Who else has been involved in the charity? Did they know anything about Sandusky's alleged transgressions? What's next? And several more.

    Here's a primer on the important information about The Second Mile.

Founding

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    Jerry Sandusky founded The Second Mile in 1977 during his time as a Penn State coach. He quickly helped it become a prominent charity that helped troubled youths fight through problems and get their lives back on track.

    The organization was a model for others as a way to establish yourself to serve a specific function and carry out the operation. With a strong backer like Sandusky, Second Mile continued to grow in the ensuing decades.

    It eventually earned wide-ranging praise for its ability to help as many as 100,000 kids during any given year through several programs targeted at getting kids on the right path.

Function

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    Second Mile operates under the slogan “providing children with help and hope.” The main goal has always been helping kids overcome whatever adversity the world has thrown their way.

    Sandusky was a major presence in the community, which allowed Second Mile to plan marquee events, including those that took place at Penn State. It was his involvement that originally allowed the charity to grow at an impressive rate.

    It's a nonprofit organization that has spawned seven chapters around the state of Pennsylvania and is a major player in community service.

Prominent Supporters

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    As the charity continued to grow, more famous and influential people started to become involved. Cal Ripken Jr., Franco Harris, Arnold Palmer and Andy Reid were among those who were called honorary directors, according to the Associated Press.

    Since Second Mile had such a strong community service base, it's not a surprise that so many important people became increasingly interested in being a part of the organization. Especially since they could have never suspected what was allegedly happening behind the scenes.

    The Grand Jury report says that Sandusky met several of his victims through the organization.

Since the Scandal Broke

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    Second Mile has been in damage control mode since the sex abuse scandal became national news. They have pointed out that none of the alleged incidents occurred during Second Mile events and that Sandusky was no longer with the organization.

    Nevertheless, CEO Jack Raykovitz resigned, prompting the charity to release a statement and open an investigation into the incident (via official website).

    We will conduct an internal investigation to assess our internal policies, procedures and processes; and make recommendations regarding the organization’s future operations. We hope to have those findings by the end of December.

    Second Mile had a revenue of $2.9 million last year, but will likely struggle to match that number this year as donors become more cautious about being associated with the organization.

    The best way to describe Second Mile's future would be uncertain. It appears for now they will attempt to weather the storm by continuing to serve the community. Only time will tell if they have enough support to survive, however.

Judge Leslie Dutchcot

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    Judge Leslie Dutchcot, who set Sandusky's bail at $100,000—or one-fifth of what the prosecution was asking for—has connections to Second Mile, according to CBS News. Dutchcot donated to the organization and also helped with volunteer work.

    Perhaps more disturbing is that a Second Mile board member, Robert Stone, helped raise money during the judge's run to become a District Judge.

    Since she was so closely involved with Second Mile, it's astonishing that Dutchcot didn't recuse herself from the proceedings. Whether or not Dutchcot allowed those prior engagements to affect her decision-making process in court only she knows, but you would hope not.

Wendell Courtney

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    Wendell Courtney was an attorney for Second Mile and also served as legal counsel at Penn State. The Grand Jury report says Courtney learned of Sandusky's actions in 1998.

    Courtney wasn't charged with any crimes following the Grand Jury's findings, and it's unclear exactly how much he knew about the situation. He continued to work with Second Mile until last week, when he resigned from the position.

    According to the Second Mile website, Lynne Abraham of Archer & Greiner has taken over the position. Courtney has remained otherwise silent about the scandal.