Three of Jerry Sandusky’s victims want a judge to stop the charity founded by Sandusky from transferring $2.5 million to a Texas organization as part of its plan to close for good.
On Tuesday, attorneys for victims known in the grand jury presentment as Nos. 3, 5 and 7 and a man identified as John Doe A said The Second Mile could be sued and not have enough assets to pay out damages.
The attorneys argue the charity could “incur substantial liabilities on account of its own negligence and/or its vicarious responsibility for Sandusky’s actions.” They said their clients and others who have yet to come forward “have suffered profound and emotional and psychological injuries” for which the charity may be held liable in court.
“We believe it is important for the (c)ourt to consider the interests of all of the parties, including the victims, before allowing any transfer of Second Mile assets,” said Tom Kline, a Philadelphia attorney who’s representing the young man known as victim No. 5. “We believe there are many equitable considerations which must be carefully considered by the (c)ourt.”
Sandusky was convicted on Friday of 45 counts of molesting 10 boys, eight of whom testified they met Sandusky through the charity. Two of the 10 haven’t been identified.
The filing by the attorneys was an objection to The Second Mile’s proposal, filed in court a month ago, to shut down and transfer its assets and programs such as summer camps and mentorships to Arrow Child and Family Ministries, of Houston. Second Mile officials said a lack of community and donor support after Sandusky’s criminal case was made public led to the decision to close the charity, which was founded in 1977 to help at-risk youth.
As part of the transition, The Second Mile is asking to transfer $2 million in cash assets to Arrow to help run its programs for a year and a half.
Another $490,000 from an endowment would be transferred, too.
According to the charity’s petition, it has assets of more than $6 million.
The attorneys for the victims and John Doe A asked the court to consider the transfer when there’s a clear picture of the charity’s assets and the total claims against the assets.
Second Mile interim CEO Dave Woodle said in May that the charity would maintain all liability after the transfer and the charity would still exist as a legal entity.
He said Tuesday that the charity’s attorneys are reviewing the petitions and will respond in court as needed. He declined to comment about the objections.
“We stand by the statements made in the petition and believe that it is in the best interests of all of the children served and to be served by the programs sponsored by The Second Mile,” he said. “Of course, our thoughts also are with the victims of the unlawful activities and abuse committed by Mr. Sandusky and the petition is structured to address their circumstances.”
The Second Mile is already in the process of selling its property, including its main office, 1402 S. Atherton St., State College, and what would have been the site of a center for its programs, on Bernel Road near the University Park Airport.
The office space is listed with a sale price of $750,000. According to court documents filed by The Second Mile, Avalon Partners LLC was looking at buying the Bernel Road land for $2.1 million.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT