UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (CBS) — The president of the Second Mile Foundation has resigned in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal involving the program’s founder, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.
And, at the same time, the foundation has hired some high-profile legal help.
Former Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham and her firm, Archer and Greiner, will serve as general counsel to The Second Mile, replacing Wendell Courtney, who resigned last week under a cloud.
Courtney had been Second Mile’s counsel pro bono while also serving as Penn State’s general counsel, and the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has said that Courtney knew about sex abuse allegations against Sandusky as early as 1998.
The Sandusky scandal also prompted the resignation of Second Mile’s president, Jack Raykovitz, who released a statement saying that any further comment from him would simply take the focus from where it belongs, on the children.
Raykovitz will be replaced by board vice chair David Woodle. The foundation also says it will conduct an internal investigation to make recommendations about its future operations.
Philadelphia attorney Tom Kline, who has represented victims in prior child sexual abuse cases says he believes The Second Mile will be a defendant in coming lawsuits filed by victims’ families.
“There is no doubt that Second Mile is going to share some liability and responsibility here,” he said. “Lynne Abraham is an excellent lawyer and Second Mile needs an excellent lawyer in this situation.”
Sandusky founded The Second Mile in 1977. The group has said that its youth programs serve as many as 100,000 children a year.
The ex-coach is accused of assaulting eight children over a 15-year span. His attorney has said he’s innocent.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with perjury. Both have denied wrongdoing and have left their university posts.
The scandal also led to the departure of university president Graham Spanier and the dismissal of legendary head coach Joe Paterno after law enforcement officials said they didn’t do enough to stop suspected abuse when it was reported to them in 2002.
Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio; Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3