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Penn State, The Second Mile Still Battling in Court

Penn State appeared earlier this year to have reached a civil settlement with Jerry Sandusky’s now-defunct charity, The Second Mile, but according to recent filings that deal was never finished and both parties are back in court.

The university filed an intent to sue the former charity for at-risk youth and its former executive director, Jack Raykovitz, in 2017, calling for them to contribute to the $110 million in civil settlements the university has paid to individuals who said they were abused by the former coach. In its initial proof of claims filed in 2016, university attorneys wrote that Raykovitz and The Second Mile “knew or should have known” that the former assistant football coach was abusing children he met through the charity. 

“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,” they wrote at the time.

In March, it was reported that Penn State would receive $733,000 from the charity’s remaining assets that had not been transferred to other organizations. An order from Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine on May 15, however, said the parties had failed to reach a final agreement and extended Penn State’s deadline for filing a complaint to July 19.

Earlier this month, the university filed a motion seeking to extend that deadline to Sept. 9 because it planned to take a pre-complaint deposition of Raykovitz, which Penn State expected attorneys for Raykovitz and The Second Mile would move to prevent. The university asked for the additional time for anticipated litigation to sort out whether Raykovitz could be deposed.

Attorneys for The Second Mile and Raykovitz responded with opposition to the extension and an emergency motion for a protective order against the deposition, arguing that the university has no cause as required by law for pre-complaint discovery.

The motion also states that Penn State already was provided thousands of pages of documents, a 2014 videotaped deposition by Raykovitz for a civll case against Penn State and his testimony at the March 2017 trial of former Penn State President Graham Spanier, which the defendants’ attorneys say already detail Raykovitz’s knowledge of and response to Sandusky’s behavior. Spanier was convicted of one count of misdemeanor child endangerment for failing to notify law enforcement of a 2001 report about Sandusky with a boy in a locker room shower. The conviction was vacated by a federal magistrate earlier this year, a decision being appealed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

Spanier, emails showed, agreed along with Senior Vice President Gary Schultz to a plan proposed by former Athletic Director Tim Curley that included talking to Sandusky and barring him from bringing youths to campus facilities, and notifying Raykovitz. Curley and Schultz pleaded guilty to one count of child endangerment. All three former university administrators maintain they were not told the incident was sexual.

Attached to The Second Mile’s recent motion were Raykovitz’s 2017 trial testimony and 2014 deposition, which was taken as part of the civil claim against Penn State by the man identified as Victim 9 at Sandusky’s 2012 trial.

In it, Raykovitz, says that he was never interviewed by anyone — including Children and Youth Services and Pennsylvania State Police — during the investigation of the Sandusky case, but did meet with then Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina prior to testifying before the investigating grand jury. Raykovitz, a licensed psychologist, served as The Second Mile’s executive director until Sandusky was charged in November 2011.

He said in March 2001 he met with Curley, who informed him that “someone had been made uncomfortable seeing Jerry in the shower with a young boy,” but that it was investigated and “they found didn’t find anything inappropriate occurred.” The report, the investigation would show 10 years later, was made by Mike McQueary, who became a key witness for the prosecution, although the boy involved has never been positively identified in court.   

Raykovitz said he informed three board members about his conversation with Curley then met with Sandusky, who told him Raykovitz was his understanding he should only refrain from bringing kids to one campus facility, not all. He also suggested to Sandusky that, in light of the recent sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts, he and the child should have bathing suits on if they showered together after a workout. He gave similar testimony at Spanier’s trial.

Raykovitz said that if he had been told what McQueary later testified about witnessing a child being sexually abused he would have called Children and Youth Services.

He also said that at Second Mile summer camps that were held at Penn State, such as the one where Victim 9 said he met Sandusky, counselors were paid through Penn State and were therefore employees of the university, not The Second Mile.

Raykovitz said that by the end of 2008 he was aware Sandusky was being investigated for child abuse and stopped Sandusky’s involvement with Second Mile children. In March 2009 he retained attorney Wendell Courtney, who formerly served as outside counsel to the university, to determine whether Sandusky could continue to be involved with the charity in any respect. Raykovitz testified that by that point Sandusky would not have received Pennsylvania clearance on a child abuse background check, but that Penn State did not ask to review The Second Mile’s hiring practices, including child abuse clearances, until November 2009.

Founded by Sandusky in 1977, The Second Mile was granted approval to dissolve in 2016. Prior to Sandusky’s arrest in 2011 it had estimated assets of about $9 million, but by the time it folded, they had dwindled to $750,000, with most of the assets being sold or transferred to other organizations. 

Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts related to child sexual abuse. He is serving a 30 to 60 year sentence in state prison and maintains his innocence.

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About the Author

Geoff Rushton (StateCollege.com)

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.

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