PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The charity for troubled youths started by Jerry Sandusky more than three decades ago – and through which the retired Penn State assistant football coach met the boys he is charged with sexually abusing – said Friday it is seeking court approval to shut down and transfer its programs to a Texas-based youth ministry that serves abused and neglected children.
The Second Mile said it has been financially crippled by the child-sex abuse scandal involving its founder and onetime public face and concluded after a six-month internal review that it had no other option but to close.
The State College-based charity began the legal process of dissolving itself Friday, submitting a plan to Centre County Court that would transfer its programs and millions of dollars in assets to Arrow Child & Family Ministries Inc., a $36 million charity that operates in Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and Honduras.
“While we are sad that The Second Mile will not continue running programs, we are heartened that the important work of helping children – and their families – reach their full potential will go on,” the charity’s interim president and chief executive, David Woodle, said in a statement.
The announcement was widely expected after Sandusky’s November arrest plunged The Second Mile into crisis. Donations dried up, volunteers fled and organizations that once referred children to The Second Mile said they no longer would.
Prosecutors allege that Sandusky found his victims through the charity he started in 1977 and committed many of his offenses inside Penn State football buildings. He has pleaded innocent to more than 50 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 alleged victims and awaits a June trial.
The Second Mile said in its petition Friday that “it became immediately apparent that the allegation against Sandusky, especially as they focused on child sexual abuse, jeopardized the very existence” of the nonprofit.