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Published: Saturday, 5/26/2012

Sandusky-founded charity to dissolve

Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach, is accused of sexual abuse. Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach, is accused of sexual abuse.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- No longer able to raise money, the charity former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky founded in 1977 for at-risk youth -- which he may have used to target boys for the sexual abuse he has been charged with -- is moving to dissolve and divert its assets to a Texas nonprofit group.

The Second Mile foundation filed legal papers Friday in the Orphans' Court of Centre County, Pennsylvania, seeking to forward $2 million and supervision of its programming to Arrow Child & Family Ministries of Houston. Arrow, which has an office in Altoona and serves 300 Pennsylvania children, is run by a sexual abuse victim.

Mark Tennant, Arrow's founder, contacted The Second Mile shortly after charges were filed against Mr. Sandusky in November.

"It was not a business decision, it was a hearts decision," Mr. Tennant said.

"Being an abused child, being raised in central Pennsylvania, having had a great intervention of a wonderful family and community there. … If ever I could give back, this was the time to do it."

The Second Mile has served about 6,000 children annually through statewide programs, including summer camps, mentoring, and foster-care services. It was the pre-eminent charity in State College.

After charges against Mr. Sandusky went public, the charity's fund-raising power vanished, its volunteer base shrank, and participation in programs suffered: Attendance at a four-day high school leadership conference dropped to 99 participants in April from 245 last year.

"The ability of The Second Mile to carry out its charitable purpose has been irrevocably compromised," the group's 26-page court filing says.

With the charity's founder accused of using its programs to find young, vulnerable victims, "it immediately became apparent that the allegations against Sandusky, especially as they focused on child sexual abuse, jeopardized the very existence of The Second Mile," the filing says.

The state attorney general's office charged Mr. Sandusky, 68, with abusing 10 boys over a span of 15 years -- allegations he has denied.

A grand jury presentment released in November said, "Through The Second Mile, Sandusky had access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations."

The foundation's president of 28 years, Jack Raykovitz, reportedly knew as early as 2002 about assault reports connected with Mr. Sandusky.

He resigned in November.

The Second Mile foundation has about $8 million in assets, including $3 million pledged for an unfinished educational and recreation development in Bellefonte called the "Center for Excellence."

The foundation wants court approval to forward $2 million contributed for the center to Arrow instead, enabling it to run five of Second Mile's main programs for two years.

Later, "Arrow will attempt to resuscitate and duplicate" The Second Mile's fund-raising network to pay program expenses, the filing says.

The Second Mile plans to forward Arrow all its endowment and contribution funds.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Timothy McNulty is a reporter for the Post-Gazette.

Contact Timothy McNulty at: tmcnulty@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1581.

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