A New York City-based not-for-profit serving disadvantaged youth is investigating whether former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has hosted some of its program children at his home in the past.
The Fresh Air Fund connects New York City children in disadvantaged neighborhoods with volunteer host families each summer in rural and suburban communities. The goal is to have children experience "the simple pleasures of life outside the city," according to its website.
The organization learned Monday that child sex abuse suspect Sandusky may have been a participating host, a spokeswoman said.
"We found out that, according to a Google alert, there was a time when Jerry Sandusky's family was a volunteer host for Fresh Air Fund, and the source was a 1982 Sports Illustrated article," the spokeswoman, Andrea Kotuk, told NBC New York.
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.
The Second Mile has said that its youth programs serve as many as 100,000 boys and girls a year.
Now the New York-based Fresh Air Fund is trying to verify whether Sandusky did in fact host some of its children, said Kotuk. If true, the organization will attempt to locate the children, who would now be adults.
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.
Sandusky's attorney has said his client is 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 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.