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State may investigate whether Second Mile knew of Sandusky's abuses

| Monday, May 16, 2016, 6:42 p.m.
In this Oct. 29, 2015, file photo, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse for a hearing about his appeal in Bellefonte, Pa.
In this Oct. 29, 2015, file photo, former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives at the Centre County Courthouse for a hearing about his appeal in Bellefonte, Pa.

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office is taking a second look at the Second Mile.

Solicitor General Bruce Castor told the Tribune-Review he has asked a head investigator to compile a memo on “what an investigation into the Second Mile would look like,” referring to the nonprofit founded in 1977 by former assistant Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse in 2012.

Second Mile's purpose was to help underprivileged children. A jury found Sandusky, 72, guilty of molesting 10 boys he met through the defunct nonprofit's programs and he was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

The Sandusky investigation occurred under Attorney General Kathleen Kane's predecessors. Former Attorney General Tom Corbett, of Shaler, started the probe before becoming governor in 2010. Corbett's appointee, Linda Kelly of Edgewood, oversaw the prosecution of Sandusky, who was charged in December 2011.

Castor said the Second Mile issue arose when he wrote the legal opinion for Kane, which resulted in her decision last month not to appeal a Superior Court ruling that threw out the most serious charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against three former Penn State administrators charged in an alleged cover-up of the Sandusky case. Lesser charges of child endangerment remain against them.

“It began bothering me like a pebble in my shoe, this long-held perception that the Second Mile may have provided some of Sandusky's victims,” Castor said. “My question is, what did they know and when did they know it?”

The foundation was disbanded after Sandusky was charged.

“I'm pleased someone is actually looking at this,” said Anthony Lubrano, a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees.

Castor, a former Montgomery County district attorney, said it's not clear if such an inquiry could result in charges because of the statute of limitations.

“The bigger question is whether there are still records to review,” Lubrano said.

Critics of Corbett have long questioned why officials of the Second Mile were not investigated. They pointed to his approval of a $3 million grant for the foundation in 2011 after accepting thousands of dollars in campaign donations from people with ties to the foundation.

Corbett's office had denied any connection between the contributions and the decision not to pursue prosecution.

Former state agents and prosecutors familiar with the case said there was an extensive investigation of the board.

Federal investigators conducted an investigation.

“We have no comment,” said Dawn Mayko, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, based in Harrisburg.

Corbett approved a grant for the Second Mile's new building initially approved by his predecessor, Democrat Ed Rendell.

Corbett said at the time he could not reject the grant without “compromising the investigation.”

Brad Bumsted is the Tribune-Review's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 and bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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