Report: Second Mile denies it will fold
The chief executive of The Second Mile, the nonprofit organization at the center of the Penn State child sex-abuse scandal, denies a report on Friday that said the charity was preparing to shut its doors.
Second Mile’s acting CEO Dave Woodle told The (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News the organization was considering three options — one of which included closing its doors — but said the charity’s next step was not a foregone conclusion.
"No decision has been made," Woodle told The Patriot-News.
Earlier, The New York Times reported Second Mile was on the verge of folding, citing an interview with Woodle, who said the organization was seeking options to transfer its programs to other nonprofit organizations.
"We’re working hard to figure out how the programs can survive this event," Woodle told The Times. "We aren’t protective of this organization that it survives at all costs."
But Woodle downplayed the idea that Second Mile was throwing in the towel following the allegations levied against its founder and former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
"I told (The New York Times) exactly what I told (The Patriot-News); we have three viable options," Woodle said.
The three options, according to The Patriot-News, include continuing current programs under Second Mile, continuing the Second Mile programs under a different charity or ending all programs and closing Second Mile permanently.
"We hope (option No. 3) doesn’t happen," Woodle said. "We’re only into this four days. We’re figuring out what’s viable."
The third option may be difficult for Woodle to avoid considering the high-profile case and its impact on both the organization and the Penn State community, which has served as a valuable asset for Second Mile since Sandusky founded the organization in 1977 to help disadvantaged children.
Sandusky, 67, is accused in a 40-count indictment of sexually assaulting eight boys he met through Second Mile over a period of 15 years. He denies the charges.
The ensuing scandal has led to the firing of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and sparked investigations into a possible cover-up within the higher echelons of the university.
Second Mile also faces inquiries into whether anyone within the organization was aware of allegations that Sandusky was involved in inappropriate behavior with young boys as far back as 1998 and again in 2002.
Sandusky officially resigned from The Second Mile in September 2010.
Jack Raykovitz, who served as The Second Mile’s CEO for 28 years, resigned earlier this week, while as many as six of the charity’s regional board members also stepped down, according to The Patriot-News. The exodus coincided with a report saying corporate donors had begun cutting ties with The Second Mile in light of the scandal.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s office confirmed Monday the state had put on hold a $3 million grant approved for The Second Mile, which was intended for a new 45,000-square-foot learning center near State College.