By Ian Simpson
STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - The children's charity set up by a former Penn State assistant football coach accused of sexually abusing boys said on Monday it severed ties with the coach in 2008.
Jerry Sandusky, 67, faces charges including seven counts of first-degree involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, all of which are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
A grand jury report said Sandusky, once a close aide to Penn State coaching legend Joe Paterno, met the victims through the Second Mile organization, a statewide non-profit organization he found and devoted to "helping troubled young boys."
"The most recent reports we've read this past weekend state that Mr. Sandusky met the alleged victims through The Second Mile. To our knowledge, all the alleged incidents occurred outside of our programs and events," the group said in a statement.
The Second Mile said on Monday that in 2008 Sandusky had informed them he was under investigation.
"We immediately made the decision to separate him from all of our program activities involving children," the organization said. "Thus, from 2008 to present, Mr. Sandusky has had no involvement with Second Mile programs involving children."
Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, has said his client, who left Penn State coaching in 1999, was shaken by the charges but knew they were coming. "He's maintained his innocence," Amendola said.
GRAND JURY TESTIMONY
The statement said The Second Mile's chief executive, Jack Raykovitz, testified to the grand jury that he was informed in 2002 by Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley that an individual had reported to Curley that he was uncomfortable about seeing Jerry Sandusky in the locker room shower with a youth.
Curley told Raykovitz the information had been "internally reviewed" and that there was no finding of wrongdoing.
"At no time was The Second Mile made aware of the very serious allegations contained in the grand jury report," the organization said.
The scandal, which has shaken a state that reveres Paterno and Penn State football, reaches into the upper echelons of the schools' athletic organization.
Both Curley, 57, and Gary Schultz, 62, Penn State's senior vice president for finance and business, were charged on Saturday with failing to report the crimes and for perjury. Both men stepped down from their duties on Monday saying they would devote themselves to proving their innocence.
(Reporting by Greg McCune and Ian Simpson; Editing by Peter Bohan and Bill Trott)