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Judge: Second Mile insurer not liable for Jerry Sandusky's defense costs [Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)]

By Christopher Passante, Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

March 02--The Second Mile's insurer is not liable for Jerry Sandusky's legal bills, a federal judge ruled Friday.

The Second Mile, a nonprofit organization for at-risk children created by Sandusky in 1977, was thrust into a legal battle when it was found the former Penn State assistant coach had sexually abused boys whom he met in the program.

Federal Insurance Co. brought the civil action, claiming it has no duty to defend Sandusky, who is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence for molesting 10 boys, because Pennsylvania does not permit insurance coverage of a perpetrator on intentional sexual molestation of a minor.

However, U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane, who previously sided with Federal, ruled Friday that the insurer is not responsible for the Sandusky's legal costs stemming from criminal or civil cases because the sexual molestation of the boys neither occurred during his employment, volunteering or executive post with The Second Mile, according to the lawsuit.

"The fact that Sandusky met his victims through The Second Mile -- or even sexually abused victims 'during the course of activities of Second Mile' -- does not change the fact that his sexual abuse of children was personal in nature, and performed in his individual capacity," the judge's ruling said.

In December 2011, Sandusky informed Federal that he was seeking insurance coverage, according to court documents. Federal told Sandusky it would "provide him with a defense in the civil and criminal matters, with a reservation of all rights available at law to deny coverage," according to court documents. Federal then fronted Sandusky $125,000.

On Dec. 23, Federal brought a declaratory judgment seeking a decision as to whether it would be liable for Sandusky. In March 2012, it filed a motion for judgment, arguing it shouldn't be required to cover Sandusky's legal bills.

The case dragged for months without a decision. A month after Sandusky's conviction in October 2012, Kane placed a stay on the case to confer with attorneys.

Representatives of The Second Mile could not be reached for comment.

Sandusky is appealing his criminal conviction, maintaining his innocence.

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(c)2013 the Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.)

Visit the Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.) at www.centredaily.com

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