The charity founded by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was arrested Saturday on 40 charges that include felony sex crimes against children, released its first statement regarding the investigation Sunday.
In a statement posted on The Second Mile's website, the charity said the "newly released details and the breadth of the allegations from the Attorney General's office bring shock, sadness and concern from The Second Mile organization. Our prayers, care and compassion go out to all impacted."
"The most recent reports we've read this past weekend state that Mr. Sandusky met the alleged victims through The Second Mile. To our knowledge, all the alleged incidents occurred outside of our programs and events. However, we are encouraging anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact investigators from the Office of Attorney General at 814-863-1053 or Pennsylvania State Police at 814-470-2238," the charity said.
In 2002, according to the statement, The Second Mile received word from Penn State athletic director Tim Curley that someone was uncomfortable seeing Sandusky in a locker room shower with a young boy. But the charity said it was never "made aware of the very serious allegations contained in the grand jury report."
When Curley later contacted the charity to tell them an internal investigation found Sandusky guilty of no wrongdoing, Sandusky was allowed to maintain involvement with the organization.
The charity said Sandusky has had no contact with children within the organization since 2008, when Sandusky informed the organization he was under investigation after allegations made by an adolescent male in Clinton County. Sandusky claimed his innocence in the matter, but the organization still felt it was best to keep him from program activities involving children.
"Although he maintained there was no truth to the claims, we are an organization committed first and foremost to the safety and well-being of the children we serve," the organization said. "Consistent with that commitment and with The Second Mile policy, we immediately made the decision to separate him from all of our program activities involving children."
The Second Mile said it was initially contacted by the attorney general's office in 2011, and has cooperated with officials since.
"Our highest priority always has been and will continue to be the safety and well-being of the children participating in our programs," the charity said. "We encourage program participants to report any allegations of abuse and/or inappropriate sexual activity wherever it has occurred, and we take any such reports directly to Child Protective Services. We have many policies and procedures designed to protect our participants, including employee and volunteer background checks, training and supervision of our activities."
"The Second Mile has helped thousands of Pennsylvania's children to lead better lives, and we remain committed to that mission. Our success is a result of the trust placed in us by the families and professionals with whom we partner, and we will take any steps needed to maintain their confidence in us," the statement concluded.
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