STATE COLLEGE, Penn. - The youth charity at the center of the child sex-abuse charges that have rocked one of the most prominent college football programs in the U.S. received donations in recent years from hundreds of corporations, community groups and individuals including the judge who arraigned the charity's founder earlier this month.
On Monday, The Second Mile's president resigned, saying he hoped his departure would help restore faith in its mission.
Jack Raykovitz, a practicing psychologist, had testified before the grand jury that recommended indicting former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child abuse. The panel said Sandusky found his victims through the charity's programs.
Sandusky allegedly assaulted eight children over a 15-year span. His attorney has said he's innocent.
The scandal led to the firing of Penn State's revered head coach, Joe Paterno, last week after accusations that he didn't do enough to tell authorities of a 2002 complaint. Thousands of students rioted in response to his firing, then hurried to show solidarity for victims of child abuse. President Barack Obama called the case "heartbreaking" and a time for soul-searching for all in the U.S.
College football is one of the most popular pastimes in the U.S., with devoted followings among alumni and others and lucrative broadcast and endorsement deals. Penn State's program was seen as relatively untainted by the corruption that has eaten into many schools' programs.
Annual reports for The Second Mile show how widely popular the charity was before the scandal hit. Hundreds of corporations, community groups and individuals donated each year.
Among them was State College District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot, who set Sandusky's bail earlier this month. She and her husband donated between $500 and $999 to The Second Mile in 2009, and she volunteered for the group, according to annual reports and her website.
The judge set bail for Sandusky at $100,000 unsecured meaning he did not have to post collateral to be freed but would have to post $100,000 if he ever failed to show up for a hearing.
Dutchcot did not immediately respond to a question on whether she will recuse herself from the case because of those past ties to The Second Mile. She has also removed the mention of the charity from her website.
Major companies and their foundations also have given to The Second Mile. Between 2008 and 2010, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Highmark Foundation, The Hershey Company and State Farm Companies Foundation all gave $50,000 or more.
The Second Mile has said its youth programs serve as many as 100,000 children a year.
Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in 1999, informed The Second Mile board in November 2008 that he was under investigation. The charity subsequently barred him from activities involving children, charity officials said.
The scandal led to the departure of university President Graham Spanier and the dismissal of Paterno after law enforcement officials said they didn't do enough to stop suspected abuse when it was reported to them in 2002.
Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President Gary Schultz were charged with perjury. Both have denied wrongdoing and have left their university posts.
The Second Mile board also said that it would conduct an internal investigation to assess policies and make recommendations regarding future operations. They hope to have those findings by the end of December.