WASHINGTON (RNS) A Christian foster care organization has been tapped to take charge of $2 million in assets from the troubled charity run by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is on trial for multiple counts of child sexual abuse.
Pending court approval, Arrow Child & Family Ministries would receive the cash assets from Sandusky’s The Second Mile and take over its mentoring and camp programs.
“The Second Mile has made a positive difference in many peoples’ lives, and we are very pleased that Arrow will continue this good work,” David Woodle, interim CEO of The Second Mile, said in a prepared statement.
Arrow was chosen from more than 15 organizations to assume The Second Mile’s programs. The Houston-based organization claims to have served about 40,000 children and families through religious-based support, including placing foster children with Christian parents.
Sandusky’s Second Mile charity, which has no religious affiliation, works with at-risk children to prevent and intervene in abuse.
Combining the two “creates a comprehensive continuum of care for at-risk children,” Arrow founder and CEO Mark Tennant said in a press statement.
Tennant has said the absorbed programs will not immediately switch to a faith-based format. However, Arrow will require Second Mile employees to sign a statement of faith.
Arrow also requires foster parents to provide a reference letter from a church minister.
The Second Mile has faced financial challenges since Sandusky was indicted on 40 charges of sex crimes against boys last November. Sandusky is currently on trial in the abuse scandal that led to the firing of his mentor, longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
“As the founder of an organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected children, I was deeply disturbed by the accusations against Jerry Sandusky and saddened by the impact on The Second Mile and the children who benefited from their programs,” Tennant said.
Fallout from the trial hit close to home for Tennant, who was born and raised in central Pennsylvania. Physically and sexually abused as a child, Tennant was removed from his home and spent years in the foster care system.
He was placed with a Christian family in Bedford, Pa., and eventually received a pastoral degree from Oral Roberts University. It could take several months for the Centre County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas to approve the deal.