Charity CEO Forced Out In Wake Of Penn State Scandal

November 14, 2011       Mark Hrywna      

The board of directors of The Second Mile, the charity founded by Jerry Sandusky, accepted the resignation of its longtime CEO yesterday. Jack Raykovitz had been CEO for 28 years. “Both Dr. Raykovitz and the board believe this is in the best interests of the organizations,” according to an announcement released this morning.

The board said it would conduct an internal investigation to assess internal policies and procedures, and make recommendations regarding its future operations, releasing its findings by the end of the year. The organization also announced it hired Lynne Abraham, a partner with Archer and Greiner, following the resignation last week of Wendell Courtney as general counsel.

Sandusky is the key figure in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, accused by authorities of abusing as many as eight children during a 15-year period, including part of his tenure as defensive coordinator under legendary football coach Joe Paterno. He founded The Second Mile in 1977 as an organization to aid foster children.

David Woodle, the organization’s vice chairman, will be responsible for day-to-day operations. The Second Mile said it would continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s office.

Although the allegations against 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 the statement.

“Over the past week the families of many participants have urged us to maintain TSM’s programs, saying they continue to believe deeply in TSM’s mission and the value if provides young people in our community. We remain committed to Second Mile children, teens and families.”

The Second Mile’s honorary board includes some big names, including Joe Paterno; Matt Millen, a former Penn State and NFL linebacker now a commentator on ESPN; former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, also now a commentator on ESPN; golf legend Arnold Palmer; Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr.; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid; actor Mark Wahlberg and former NFL coach Dick Vermeil.

The Second Mile’s state board has 37 members, in addition to boards for the Central, South Central and Southeast. It has three offices statewide, with revenue last year of $2.1 million, down from $3.2 million the year before and $4.1 million 2008. The organization had a $228,000 loss in net cash flow for operations, according to its annual report for 2010.

Paterno led Penn State football since 1966, building it not only into a perennial winner but an iconic brand that generated millions of dollars for the university. But he’s come under fire from some corners that he did not report allegations of child abuse to the property authorities. A graduate assistant in 2002 told him he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a child in the locker room showers.

Sandusky, Paterno’s defensive coordinator until 1999, was arrested earlier this month on charges of alleged sexual abuse of eight boys over 15 years. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz, who oversaw the university police force, are charged with perjury and failing to report suspected child abuse. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office released an explosive 23-page grand jury report detailing the allegations. It includes testimony from Raykovitz that he was informed by Curley in 2002 that someone had reported being uncomfortable seeing Sandusky in the locker room shower with a youth.

An initial statement from the charity, released last week, indicates Curley told the organization that the incident was reviewed internally, with no finding of wrongdoing, and that it was never made aware of the “serious allegations” in the grand jury report.

In 2008, The Second Mile barred Sandusky from activities with children after he informed them of allegations — which he denied — made against him by an adolescent. Sandusky officially retired from the charity in September 2010 and the Attorney General’s office contacted the charity early this year.

As recently as 2008, Sandusky earned $57,000 as a director and consultant, according to the organization’s tax forms, more than half of that devoted to programming, as well as some to management and fundraising.