The recent “coin toss” controversy this month regarding the Co-Founder and long-time Board Member of Sandusky’s Second Mile children’s charitable non-profit, Mr. Bruce Heim, opened the door slightly for the media and the public to re-focus their questions on the role of the Second Mile leadership in their failures to protect children.
Penn State President Barron rescinded the honorary Army/PSU game opening coin toss invitation to Mr. Heim after a flood of complaints from well-informed alumni. Alumni that have been questioning the leadership decisions at Second Mile since the scandal broke in late 2011. More specifically, alumni have questioned the actions of charity CEO and licensed child psychologist, Dr. Jack Raykovitz, on addressing Sandusky's conduct, which was reported to him in 2001, and PSU's subsequent banning of Second Mile clients from the campus.
We've heard nothing on the Second Mile until this coin toss controversy and Mr. Heim's compulsion to reply to complaints via an Op-Ed on October 7th in a local State College publication.
In it, Mr. Heim voices his displeasure on the revoking of this coin toss honorarium, complains of being dishonored, and laments that with benefit of hindsight, he wished he had done more. Yet he also admits to both his and charity Executive Director, Dr. Jack Raykovitz’s roles in concealing PSU’s 2001 complaint from the Second Mile Board at large, the Second Mile staffers and charity volunteers.
Mr. Heim admits to the agreed upon concealment of facts from others in charity leadership positions. Facts, that had they been escalated by a concerned parent about their charity figurehead's conduct with minors, would very likely have led to bad publicity for the Second Mile. That is an issue any full Board of a children's charity needs to know about.
Mr. Heim’s statement that the Second Mile didn’t have “some culpability” in the scandal and that contrary opinions are based on “conjecture” is a demonstration of his own ignorance of the charity’s legal requirements and the facts in evidence.
One has to ask that as an involved, decades-long board member and Co-Founder with Sandusky of a Pennsylvania children’s charitable non-profit, why Mr. Heim was not educated on the standards of safe conduct for adults working with children, and more specifically, reporting requirements in Pennsylvania?
Mr. Heim states this “It never occurred as a possibility until the release of the 2011 Grand Jury presentment that shocked a nation, destroyed a great charity, devastated a town, impugned a university, and by implication its wide alumni base, and maligned a personal friend, partner, and icon who did everything he was supposed to do with the information he had: Joe Paterno.”
However, Mr. Heim confesses in his Op-Ed that the break in the reporting chain was among the leadership at Second Mile. Therefore there was never a “cover up” among the administrators at Penn State, least of all with Mr. Paterno. The Second Mile was legally mandated to follow up on institutional complaints on its employee’s conduct with minors, investigate it, possibly report it to outside agencies and implement a written safety plan as per state mandate.
That never happened.
It strains credulity that Louis Freeh so freely maligned Joe Paterno, Messrs. Curley, Schultz and Spanier, without subpoena power to compel truthful testimony -- but used the lack of subpoena power as an excuse not to review the actions of The Second Mile.
It is stunning that Curley, Schultz, and Spanier were tried and convicted in the Court of Public Opinion on yet unproven allegations made by our PA Office of Attorney General -- by a prosecutor that is currently embroiled in his own pornography and ethics scandal.
Yet that same prosecutor and Office of Attorney General -- responsible for oversight of charities -- never considered charging those in leadership positions at Second Mile that were privy to the same information as close to a dozen people and failed to abide by their state mandated reporting responsibilities.
It is my hope that Mr. Heim sees fit to publish his October 7th Op-Ed in our national newspapers for broader public consumption and conversation.
One hopes that Mr. Heim:
-- continues to discuss The Second Mile's leadership failures;
-- nationally exposes the Freeh report for the farce that it is;
-- insists the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General drop the baseless charges against Messrs. Curley, Schultz and Spanier; and.
-- demands that the Penn State Administration offer a formal apology to the Paterno Family, the football lettermen, the three former administrators that have yet to set foot in a courtroom, and to the larger PSU community.
It will be a greater honorary effort for Mr. Heim to help write the last chapter in this saga.
Far greater than a 50 yard line coin toss on a Saturday afternoon in the fall.
West Chester, Pennsylvania