A New York City-based not-for-profit serving disadvantaged youth has confirmed that at least one child stayed at the home of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in the mid-1990s, NBC News has learned.
The Fresh Air Fund connects New York City children in disadvantaged neighborhoods with volunteer host families each summer in rural and suburban communities. The organization is now looking into whether more children were placed with the Sandusky family in the 1970s.
"Based on our initial review of our files, we can confirm that ... one Fresh Air Fund child stayed at the Sandusky home in the mid-1990s and we have shared this information with the Pennsylvania authorities," Andrea Kotuk, a Fresh Air Fund public relations consultant, told NBC News. "We are continuing to review our files for earlier time periods. As of today we believe that more children may have stayed at the Sandusky home in the 1970s … and at this point we cannot comment further."
The organization learned Monday that child sex abuse suspect Sandusky may have been a participating host, a spokeswoman said.
Sandusky is accused of assaulting eight children over a 15-year span. A grand jury panel said Sandusky found his victims through the youth charity he founded in 1977, The Second Mile. He has denied the charges.
The Second Mile has said that its youth programs serve as many as 100,000 boys and girls 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 Second Mile's president resigned Monday, 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.
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 scandal 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.