Expert questions makeup of Penn St. case charity
A second top executive at The Second Mile appears to be leaving,
as the charity founded by former Penn State assistant football
coach Jerry Sandusky gets more scrutiny about how it was structured
Katherine Genevose, the foundation’s executive vice president
and wife of recently departed CEO Jack Raykovitz, is no longer
listed as a staff member on the charity’s website.
The Second Mile announced Wednesday that some employees would be
laid off by the end of the year, but it didn’t give details.
Genovese and other representatives of The Second Mile did not
respond to questions about her status. Her apparent departure was
first reported by the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Penn State University and Sandusky have faced most of the
scrutiny over allegations that he sexually abused boys he met
through the charity’s programs. He has denied the charges, saying
in interviews that he showered and ”horsed around” with boys but
never sexually abused them.
Sandusky is set to appear in court on Tuesday to face more than
50 charges that accuse him of sexually abusing 10 boys over the
span of 15 years. Investigators also have questioned whether
Sandusky used charity funds to ”groom” the boys with extensive
An expert on nonprofit governance said that in retrospect there
were some questionable aspects to the basic structure of The Second
Michael L. Wyland, who advises nonprofits as a partner in the
firm Sumption & Wyland, recently analyzed the charity in an
essay that appeared online in The Nonprofit Quarterly.
Wyland said he’d never seen bylaws that identify the ”founder”
as a corporate officer and member of the board’s executive
committee. The arrangement meant that Jerry Sandusky’s duties
conflicted with the powers of the board’s chairman.
While it’s not unusual for a founder to be the public face of an
organization, Wyland said that board members have a legal
responsibility to the charity, not the founder. Sandusky’s
extensive powers in the bylaws could have hindered such
Wyland noted that there’s even a term in the nonprofit world for
such situations: Founder’s Syndrome.
The size of the Second Mile’s board is also unusual. There are
36 people on the state board, plus more on regional boards. With
that many people, ”what tends to happen is the full board is not
really able to exercise its responsibility. It’s hard to have
dialogue,” Wyland said.
He also noted that Raykovitz, the CEO who resigned after
Sandusky’s arrest last month, is married to Genovese, the executive
vice president who is no longer listed on the charity’s
Wyland said that’s a management conflict-of-interest, as
Raykovitz would normally have been expected to review Genovese’s
performance and set her compensation. He noted that Raykovitz and
Genovese also had formal oversight of contributions, solicitations
and financial records.
”The combination of those things makes it very unusual for the
CEO and the spouse to have that level of control over income and
expenditure,” said Wyland, who added that such situations should
But Wyland said the tendency to blame Second Mile board members
may be excessive.
”There’s this temptation to say, they should have known. Well,
not always,” Wyland added, especially when someone involved with
an organization is making extensive efforts to hide the details of
He also noted that a district attorney didn’t press charges
against Sandusky after investigating some complaints, meaning that
Raykovitz could have credibly believed that the allegations were
The Second Mile has hired Lynne Abraham, who served as the top
prosecutor in Philadelphia for nearly two decades, to help it
conduct an internal investigation to assess policies and make
recommendations regarding its future.
Meanwhile, a new poll suggests that the public has mixed
feelings about some people implicated in the scandal.
About half of Pennsylvanians surveyed for a poll released Friday
support the firing of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno,
although many say they still have a favorable opinion of him after
the child sex-abuse scandal that erupted last month.
The poll conducted by Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University found
52 percent of registered Pennsylvania voters surveyed supported the
decision of the Penn State Board of Trustees to oust the longtime
coach, with 43 percent opposing the move.
Paterno and school President Graham Spanier lost their jobs in
the wake of the Sandusky scandal.
Spanier didn’t fare so well in the poll. An overwhelming
majority favored his dismissal – 74 percent to 13 percent.
Begos reported from Pittsburgh.