The statue of Joe Paterno, the once revered coach of Penn State’s football team whose image was shattered during the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, was removed from outside of the football stadium Sunday.
The university said that it was taking down the 7-foot-tall statue in the wake of a investigative report that stated Paterno and three other Penn State administrators ”repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse.”
“I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse,” Penn State President Rod Erickson said in a statement released early Sunday morning.
Paterno was fired four days after Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, and died a few months later on January 22, 2012. Sandusky was convicted of 45 criminal counts for abusing 10 boys over a number of years, and is currently awaiting sentencing.
The Paterno family released a statement hours later, saying that the removal of the statue “does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community.”
The Hall of Fame coach was extremely popular among the Penn State community, and many watched the removal of the 900 pound statue in disbelief and anger. Paterno and his family donated millions of dollars to the university throughout his 61-year coaching career.
The NCAA announced on Sunday that it would be issuing sanctions against the University and would announce them Monday morning. While they have not disclosed what those sanctions would entail, NCAA President Mark Emmert has said that he would not rule out the possibility of shutting down the school’s football program.
With Associated Press