Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Penn State says Second Mile should pay up

Penn State has paid out $93 million in claims from people who say that Jerry Sandusky sexually violated them.

Now the university would like some of that money back, and it would like it from The Second Mile.

A “proof of claims” was filed July 8 with the Centre County court. Penn State attorney Joseph O’Dea argued the charity serving at-risk children and founded by Jerry Sandusky in 1978 “knew or should have known of facts that reasonably suggested that Sandusky was sexually abusing and/or endangering children.”

“The Second Mile was in a position to prevent and stop Sandusky from meeting, grooming and attacking children who had been entrusted to the care of The Second Mile, but negligently failed to do so,” O’Dea wrote.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse charges in 2012. The 10 victims in the case were boys who met Sandusky through The Second Mile.

According to court documents, the charity contributed to just one of the 32 settlements. O’Dea called that “inequitable and unjustified refusal to accept responsibility.”

“... Penn State is entitled to contribution from The Second Mile and its insurers for a fair share” of the settlement money, he wrote.

The filing follows up on the university’s preliminary intentions, submitted to the court in February.

“The university hereby states that in addition to filing claims for indemnification against The Second Mile and/or its insurers, the university also may file other claims against those entities and/or against officers or members of the board of directors. ... The university reserves all rights with respect to all of the claims it may file against these entities and individuals,” attorney Alexander Bilus wrote.

That was in response to a January petition by The Second Mile to finally complete its dissolution, ending three and a half years of slowly turning over its money, equipment and programming to Arrow Child and Family Ministries and selling off land in Patton Township.

A judge signed off on the official demise of the charity in March, turning over its remaining $750,000 in assets to the care of the Office of Attorney General for the settlement of any remaining claims. The OAG said at that time that any of those claims had to be filed within 120 days. Penn State’s filing should come in under that wire.

It’s the latest hit at the charity, which has had a number of questions raised this year.

In May, Pennsylvania Solicitor General Bruce Castor said he was having people look into the organization. A week later, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale spoke of a similar audit of grants to the charity.

“We conferred with Auditor General DePasquale. I’ve assigned two investigators to work on the case and report back to me in early August. Then I will decide if there is enough to move forward criminally, do something jointly, or step back and let the auditor general’s people see what they turn up,” Castor told the Centre Daily Times Thursday. “No other claims have been brought to my attention.”

Penn State continues to fight its liability insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, over the question of coverage of those settlement payments in breach of contract cases in Philadelphia court.