Convicted Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky's Former Charity Asks to Shut Down
The Second Mile filed a petition last week to dissolve itself and give its remaining $800,000 in assets to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State University assistant football coach who in 2012 was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 different boys and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison, founded the 39-year-old nonprofit based in Bellefonte, Pa. Sandusky also supported the nonprofit as an active fundraiser. In fact, it is now known that he met and became close to some of his victims through the charity.
The media attention Sandusky's case received after the indictment in 2011 brought added scrutiny to The Second Mile. Ultimately, it doomed the child-services nonprofit, as it was never able to shed its ties to Sandusky or regain trust with donors and the community. (Though the organization didn't help itself by keeping the allegations against Sandusky quiet for years before the news broke publicly).
“It immediately became apparent that the allegations against Sandusky … jeopardized the very existence of The Second Mile," the board of directors said in the petition to dissolve the charity, filed Jan. 8.
At the time of the indictment, donations “virtually ceased,” its volunteer base “shrank considerably” and referral sources were reluctant to send any children to the nonprofit’s programs due to the controversy, according to the board's filing.
With their hands tied, the charity's board members found they had three choices:
- Restructure to keep the programs operational, but greatly reduced
- Maintain programs by transferring them to similar children-services organizations
- Discontinue all operations and programs
"[The Board of Directors of The Second Mile] determined that the Sandusky indictment and the developments … rendered the accomplishment of the charitable objects of The Second Mile impracticable, if not impossible … and concluded that The Second Mile could not continue its charitable purpose, but should transfer its programs to another nonprofit and ultimately, dissolve," the board of directors said in the petition.
Through a series of court-granted requests, The Second Mile sold its office as well as undeveloped land in Patton Township, Pa., which recently sold to a developer who has proposed the $1.05 million Nittany Valley Sports Centre for the location, according to court documents. The charity also transferred its intellectual property, including its participant, donor and program databases and information; endowment fund; computers; and $500,000 to Houston-based Arrow Child and Family Ministries, which benefits youth in four states—including Pennsylvania—in addition to Honduras.
This left the broken charity with $800,000 in assets.
Aside from a potential indemnification claim from Pennsylvania State University, the board expects to have no bills aside from legal and accounting costs, according to the petition. The board requested that the court allow it to hand over those funds to the attorney general, who will hold them in escrow and find a use for them that fits in The Second Mile’s mission.