Report: Second Mile didn’t inform donors
The Second Mile, the nonprofit organization at the center of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, continued soliciting donors without informing them its founder was under investigation on child molestation charges, FOXNews.com reported Wednesday.
Four donors, listed as contributing $50,000 or more to the charity in 2009 or 2010, came forward saying they were completely out of the loop on the claims against Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky, 67, is accused in a 40-count indictment of sexually abusing eight boys he met through The Second Mile over a period of 15 years. He has maintained his innocence.
"The cover-up is unbelievable," Peter Varischetti, co-owner of Pennsylvania wholesale industrial goods supplier Varischetti & Sons, Inc. told FOXNews.com. "It’s hard to fathom."
Varischetti & Sons was listed as a $50,000-or-more donor to Second Mile, but Varischetti said the company donated only $5,000.
The Second Mile, founded by Sandusky in 1977 to help disadvantaged children, revealed last week it was made aware of child molestation allegations against its founder as early as 2002.
"We feel let down," said Tracy Bell, a store coordinator at Family Clothesline, which donated $50,000 in 2010, according to Second Mile records. "Maybe they felt he’s innocent until proven guilty. But it’s their duty to inform their donors he was being investigated."
Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania lawmaker has called for a review into the decision to release Sandusky on unsecured bail after documents revealed The Second Mile raised money for the judge who set him free.
District Judge Leslie Dutchcot, who released Sandusky last week on $100,000 unsecured bail, was the beneficiary of a fundraiser hosted by Second Mile in 2007 while she was running for office, according to myFOXphilly.com.
Prosecutors had requested bail be set at $500,000 and that an ankle monitor be required as a condition for Sandusky’s release.
Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery County) sent a letter to the state’s supreme court and attorney general Tuesday requesting a review of Dutchcot’s ruling in light of her connection to the charity.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported earlier this week that Dutchcot had volunteered for The Second Mile in the past, raising concern about her suitability to preside over the arraignment. A source close to the case said Dutchcot took only a small role at events organized by the charity in 2008 and 2009 and had never met Sandusky.
The 2007 fundraiser netted Dutchcot $1,463 and came at a time when Sandusky was still serving as its founder, according to myFOXphilly.com.
Sandusky officially retired from The Second Mile in Sept. 2010.
A separate report on Wednesday indicated former and current board members from Second Mile also donated more than $200,000 to the 2010 gubernatorial campaign of current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
According to Deadspin.com, former board member Lance Shaner, who worked with Second Mile from 1998-2006, donated $155,550 to Corbett’s campaign, while Robert Poole, Second Mile’s chairman, shelled out $9,133.34 to aid Corbett’s run for office.
Corbett served as Pennsylvania’s attorney general and had direct knowledge of the investigation into Sandusky prior to running for governor.
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.
The grant, approved by Corbett earlier this year, was one of 700 grants agreed to but not signed into law by Corbett’s predecessor, Ed Rendell, according to myFOXphilly.com.
Jack Raykovitz, Second Mile’s CEO, announced his resignation Monday after 28 years at the charity’s helm. A number of Second Mile’s regional directors have also begun stepping down as corporate donors started cutting ties with the organization last week.
The Second Mile on Monday retained former Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham as legal counsel, according to myFOXphilly.com.