WASHINGTON, July 10 (Reuters) – An investigation into Penn State University’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal will be published on Thursday, and the family of late football coach Joe Paterno has questioned its fairness and confidentiality.
The Penn State student group that manages the area outside Beaver Stadium where students camp out for prime football tickets has changed the name of the tent city that spouts up the week before home games in Happy Valley.
The report said Penn State officials, including widely admired coach Joe Paterno and the university president, protected their cash cow football program instead of young boys who were assaulted by former Nittany Lions assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
“The Paterno family issued a statement only hours later saying the statue’s removal “does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community.
If you say `Penn State’ to the average American, they’re going to say `Sandusky’ and `pedophilia,’” he said. “Eventually they’ll go back to Penn State and Nittany Lions, and all of that.
“”We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth,” said the family, which vowed its own investigation following the release of the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh. The family called the report “the equivalent of an indictment — a charging document written by a prosecutor — and an incomplete and unofficial one at that.
“Paterno’s widow, Sue, and two of the Paternos’ children visited the statue Friday as students and fans lined up to get their pictures taken with the landmark. The statue, weighing more than 900 pounds, was built in 2001 in honor of Paterno’s record setting 324th Division we coaching victory and his “contributions to the university.
“Construction vehicles and police arrived shortly after dawn Sunday, barricading the street and sidewalks near the statue, erecting a chain link fence then concealing the statue with a blue tarp. Workers then used jackhammers to free the statue and a forklift to lower it onto a flat bed truck that rolled into stadium garage bay about 100 feet away.Many of those watching the removal stared in disbelief and at least one woman wept, while others expressed anger at the decision.”.
We think it was an act of cowardice on the part of the university,” Mary Trometter of Williamsport, who wore a shirt bearing Joe Paterno’s image. She said she felt betrayed by university officials, saying they promised openness but said nothing about the decision until just before the removal work began.Dozens later gathered to watch workers remove Paterno’s name and various plaques from the concrete walls behind the statue. Much of the work was hidden by blue tarps strung across temporary chain link fences while barricades kept observers on the other side of the street. Few watching said they understood the decision and feared what kind of punishment the NCAA would pile on.Derek Leonard, 31, a university construction project coordinator who grew up in the area, said the construction workers on the project told him it was like watching a funeral when the statue was lowered onto the truck and then rolled away. He didn’t completely agree with the decision but worried more that the NCAA would shut down the football program.”.
It’s going to kill our town,” he said.Richard Hill, 67, West Chester, a Penn State alumnus, said, “If you punish the football program or Joe Paterno — they’re tied together — this town is going to suffer.
“Diane Byerly, who traveled from Harrisburg in the morning when she heard the statue was coming down, wondered if the university was trying to make a symbolic gesture in hopes of lessening the NCAA’s penalty.”.
Maybe it was an olive branch,” said Byerly, 63, a onetime season ticket holder whose father and son went to Penn State. “Maybe they’ll go softer on us.
“Penn State President Rod Erickson said he decided to have the statue removed and put into storage because it “has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing.
“”we 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,” Erickson said in a statement released at 7 a.m. Sunday.He said Paterno’s name will remain on the campus library because it “symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University.
When things quiet down, if they do quiet down, we hope they don’t remove it permanently or destroy it,” he said. “His legacy should not be completely obliterated and thrown out.
“The bronze sculpture has been a rallying point for students and alumni outraged over Paterno’s firing four days after Sandusky’s Nov. 5 arrest — and grief stricken over the Hall of Fame coach’s Jan. 22 death at age 85.But it turned into a target for critics after a report by Freeh alleged a cover up by Paterno, ousted President Graham Spanier and two Penn State officials, Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz. Their failure to report Sandusky to child welfare authorities in 2001 allowed him to continue molesting boys, the report found.Paterno’s family, along with attorneys for Spanier, Curley and Schultz, vehemently deny any suggestion they protected a pedophile. Curley and Schultz await trial on charges of failing to report child abuse and lying to a grand jury but maintain their innocence. Spanier hasn’t been charged. Sandusky was convicted last month of 45 counts of sexual abuse of 10 boys.Some newspaper columnists and former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden have said the statue should be taken down, while a small plane pulled a banner over State College reading, “Take the statue down or we will.
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