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Centre County Judge Removes Himself from Civil Case Consideration

by on June 29, 2012 6:00 AM

A Centre County judge has recused himself from presiding over one of the civil cases in wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse trial.

Jonathan Grine removed himself from consideration for The Second Mile’s request to transfer all assets to the Houston-based charity Arrow Child & Family Ministries, a court administrative aide confirmed Thursday.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts will select an out-of-county judge to preside over the case at a later date.

At least three cases will need an out-of-county judge, according to a report in the Centre Daily Times. H. William White, of Venango County, has been assigned to the case involving Penn State and its insurance company over how much coverage it must provide in civil suits against the university.

Another out-of-county judge is needed for the lawsuit former president Graham Spanier filed against Penn State regarding access to his old emails, which he says he needs before he meets with Louis Freeh’s investigative team.

Of course, out-of-county judges are nothing new in Sandusky-related cases. Judge John Cleland, of McKean County, presided over the Sandusky child sex abuse case and was praised by both the prosecution and defense for his fairness and ability to keep the case moving all the way up through June’s trial.

Grine’s recusal follows the filing of a suit Tuesday by three of Sandusky’s victims to block The Second Mile from transferring nearly $2 million in assets to Arrow.

Lawyers for Victim Nos. 3, 5 and 7 filed a petition in Centre County Orphans' Court to block that transfer. A fourth man, identified in court documents as 'John Doe' is also filing to block the transfer. 'John Doe' is a Philadelphia man who, while not a part of the original grand jury presentment, has filed a civil suit in Philadelphia against Sandusky, according to court documents.

When The Second Mile announced the transfer on May 25, it said the $2 million would help Arrow Child & Family Ministries continue to run The Second Mile programs for a year. In a statement on The Second Mile website, CEO David Woodle said court approval of the transfer could take months.

According to court documents, transferring $2 million would constitute 40 percent of The Second Mile's holdings.

Attorneys for the victims and 'John Doe' want The Second Mile to put first its responsibilities to pay off the liabilities it has incurred from the Sandusky trial, which would be hampered by a transfer of funds, according to the court filing.



Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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