Penn State scandal causes re-examination of laws for reporting child abuse
The child sex abuse scandal at Penn State has now stretched far beyond State College, and has prompted several politicians to call for another look at the requirements for reporting abuse.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett says the laws for reporting child abuse should be re-examined.
Under the current law, Mike McQueary, the graduate assistant football coach who says he saw Coach Jerry Sandusky raping a young boy in a school shower in 2002, had to only report it to the then-head coach Joe Paterno, but not to police.
It appears dozens may have known of problems, including university police, the State Department of Public Welfare and even the then District Attorney.
Meanwhile, the president of the youth charity at the center of the child sex-abuse charges resigned. The charity received donations in recent years from hundreds of corporations, community groups and individuals - including the judge who arraigned Sandusky earlier this month.
On Monday, The Second Mile's president resigned, saying he hoped his departure would help restore faith in its mission. The group also announced it had hired Philadelphia's longtime district attorney as its new general counsel.
Jack Raykovitz, a practicing psychologist, had led the group, which was founded by Sandusky in 1977, for 28 years.
Raykovitz had testified before the grand jury that indicted Sandusky on 40 counts of child abuse. The panel said Sandusky found his victims through the charity's programs.
Annual reports 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 Second Mile 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 to the charity.
Raykovitz said in a statement Monday that he hopes his resignation would mark the beginning of a "restoration of faith in the community of volunteers and staff" at The Second Mile.
Tax forms indicate that Raykovitz's wife, Katherine Genovese, was executive vice president of The Second Mile. She has been with the group since 1984. It's not clear if she still works at the charity, as the staff biography page has been removed from the website.
The Second Mile has said that 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 ex-coach allegedly assaulted 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 were charged with perjury. Both have denied wrongdoing and have left their university posts.
The Second Mile also announced a new general counsel on Monday. Lynne Abraham is replacing Wendell Courtney, who resigned last week.
Abraham served as the top prosecutor in Philadelphia for nearly two decades, during which she was known for her no-nonsense approach. The city's first female district attorney, she earned the lasting nickname "one tough cookie" from former Mayor Frank Rizzo. She decided not to run again in 2009 and became a partner at the Philadelphia office of the Archer & Greiner law firm in early 2010.
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.
Corbett says he expects more victims to come forward.
The scandal has prompted Maryland State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Hartford Republican, to consider toughening penalties against those who fail to report suspected child abuse as well.
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