Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Out-of-county judge to hear Second Mile property petition

An out-of-county judge will preside over The Second Mile’s petition in Centre County court to transfer millions of dollars and other assets to a Texas-based organization as part of its plan to shut down for good.

Senior Judge William F. Morgan, of Warren and Forest counties court, was assigned to the case last week, a state court spokesman said Tuesday.

In May, Second Mile officials announced that the charity would begin to disband, facing dwindling donor and community support because of its association with Jerry Sandusky, who founded the charity in 1977 and was convicted in June of abusing boys he met through the organization.

But several of the attorneys for Sandusky’s victims have objected to the transfer, arguing in court papers that the charity could be held liable for damages and may not have enough money to pay out if the transfer goes through.

No date has been set to address the victims’ objections. The case appeared to be on hold until an out-of-county judge was assigned to it.

Morgan, 72, takes over the case after Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine recused himself because of his connections to the charity. All the county’s other judges recused themselves from Sandusky’s criminal case because of their ties to The Second Mile or to Penn State, and it’s expected that any cases in the county that are related to Sandusky will see out-of-county judges assigned to them.

The Second Mile hopes to initially transfer $2.5 million to Arrow Child and Family Ministries, a Houston-based organization that works with children who have been abused or neglected and removed from their homes.

While this process goes on in court, the charity continues running its programs for children.

The charity has about 330 boys and girls participating in camps this summer.

In the meantime, The Second Mile has pared down its board to five members, with State College real estate developer Bob Poole serving as the chairman and Dave Woodle as the interim CEO and board vice chairman.

Woodle said in May that the charity would maintain all liability after the transfer is approved and that the charity would still exist as a legal entity.

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 a new headquarters, on Bernel Road near the University Park Airport in Patton Township.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of abuse. The trial included the testimony of eight of the 10 victims.

One who didn’t appear in court, Victim 2, came forward last week.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT