The charity founded by accused child molester and former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has shaken up its leadership, hired new legal counsel and announced it will conduct an internal investigation of its policies and practices.
The Second Mile, a State College-based nonprofit that works with troubled children, announced the resignation of its president/CEO, Jack Raykovitz, on Monday morning. He had headed the organization for 28 years.
Dave Woodle, a State College business executive who serves as the board vice chairman, will assume responsibility for day-to-day operations. He is chairman and CEO of NanoHorizons, a company that designs and manufactures silver particles that are used in a variety of products to ward off bacteria and other microbes.
In an interview, Mr. Woodle, 56, said it was too soon to know the impact of the sex charges on the agency's fundraising or ability to receive referrals of children.
A grand jury has accused Mr. Sandusky of sexually abusing at least eight boys across 15 years, all of whom he met through The Second Mile, which he founded in 1977.
"Although the allegations against Jerry Sandusky and the alleged incidents occurred outside Second Mile programs and events, this does not change the fact that the alleged sexual abuse involved Second Mile program children, nor does it lessen the terrible impact of sexual abuse on its victims," the organization said in a statement announcing Mr. Raykovitz's ouster.
Mr. Raykovitz testified before a grand jury that he had knowledge of allegations against Mr. Sandusky going back to 2002, according to a statement released by The Second Mile two days after Mr. Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of abusing children.
In its statement, the agency said Mr. Raykovitz testified that he had been told by Penn State athletic director Tim Curley that an internal investigation had found no corroboration for an allegation of inappropriate contact by Mr. Sandusky with a child in the shower of a university athletics building.
It wasn't until November 2008 that The Second Mile took steps to keep Mr. Sandusky away from children.
It was then, according to the organization's statement, that "Mr. Sandusky informed The Second Mile that he had learned he was being investigated as a result of allegations made against him by an adolescent male in Clinton County, Pa. Although he maintained there was no truth to the claims, we are an organization committed first and foremost to the safety and well-being of the children we serve."
Mr. Woodle said his involvement with The Second Mile dates to late 2002 or early 2003 and that he has served as vice chairman for about three years.
He declined on Monday to say when he first learned of allegations that Mr. Sandusky abused children, referring only to the timetable made public in the agency's prepared statement.
The Second Mile relies primarily on private donations, getting no direct government funding. It was struggling even before the announcement of charges against Mr. Sandusky and two Penn State university officials, posting a $228,000 loss last year, according to its annual report.
Asked if fundraising had declined in the wake of the scandal, Mr. Woodle said "our focus is on the kids and on our programs to help the kids. These allegations are horrendous and our sympathy and prayers go out to the alleged victims. That said, our programs depend on funding."
He said the agency was meeting with sponsors and supporters to gauge the impact. "That's going to take a little time," he said.
He said reactions from agencies that refer children to The Second Mile has varied from "We can't lose this program" to "We're uncertain if we can continue."
Mr. Woodle will work for no salary. Mr. Raykovich was paid $132,923 in 2009 and $130,846 in 2008, according to the agency's tax returns. Mr. Raykovich's wife, Katherine Genovese, the agency's executive vice president who drew a $100,580 salary for both those years, remains on staff, Mr. Woodle said.
In a related matter, the State Employees Retirement System has reported pension amounts for Mr. Sandusky and for Gary Schultz, Penn State's former senior vice president for finance and business.
Mr. Sandusky worked at the university from March 15, 1969, until June 29, 1999, and receives a monthly pension of $4,908.17.
Mr. Schultz, who has been charged in the Sandusky case with perjury and failing to report the alleged assault on campus of one boy, worked for Penn State from Nov. 11, 1970, until June 29, 2009, when he retired.
During that time, Mr. Schultz was paid in amounts ranging from $256,020 (in 2002) to $415,008 (in 2008). He made $213,373 in the partial year he worked in 2009. His gross monthly pension is $27,558.25.
In its statement Monday, The Second Mile said it would investigate internally its policies, procedures and processes and produce findings by the end of December. Asked if the findings would be made public, Mr. Woodle said "we'll be as transparent as we can in our communications, and what we're doing about it. I'm not sure there will be a written report that we'll be putting out."
The Second Mile also announced it has hired the law firm of Archer & Greiner, one of whose partners is former Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham, as general counsel. It succeeds lawyer Wendell Courtney, who resigned last week, citing his ongoing work for Penn State as a potential conflict of interest.
In a separate statement issued through The Second Mile on Monday, Mr. Raykovitz said: "I have submitted, and the Board has accepted, my resignation as President/CEO of The Second Mile. Providing any statement beyond that sentence takes the focus from where it should be -- on the children, young adults and families who have been impacted. Their pain and their healing is the greatest priority, and my thoughts and prayers have been and will continue to be with them. I continue to urge anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact investigators from the Office of Attorney General at 814-863-1053 or Pennsylvania State Police at 814-470-2238."
Jon Schmitz: email@example.com or 412-263-1868.