Joe Paterno, Former Penn State University Football Coach, Statue Torn Down
Jul 23, 2012 10:21 AM EDT
On Sunday Penn State University authorities announced that the statue of former deceased football coach Joe Paterno would be taken down in light of the recently released Freeh report, which implicated Paterno along with other top officials in a cover-up scandal in the Sandusky child sex-abuse case.
In a statement released on the university website, PSU President Rodney Erickson said, "The statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium has become a lightning rod of controversy and national debate, including the role of big time sports in university life. The Freeh Report has given us a great deal to reflect upon and to consider, including Coach Paterno's legacy."
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Earlier this month, former FBI director Louis Freeh, released a 267 page report, which was formed over seven months of investigation, more than 400 interviews, and a review of over 3.5 million documents. The Freeh report, as it has come to be called, not only implicated top PSU officials, but also revealed that the Board of Trustees handled the matter very poorly and was greatly responsible for the cover-up in the abuse of young students perpetrated by former football coach Sandusky, who has been convicted of the crime and awaits sentencing in a county prison and its consequential cover-up.
However, while the decision of tearing down the statue might be a show of respect, if not an effort to comfort, the victims and their families, many want the statue to remain erect on the campus to immortalize Paterno's legacy as a coach.
Angelo Di Maria, the sculptor is one among them. He tells Yahoo News, " I hope they don't remove it permanently or destroy it...His legacy should not be completely obliterated and thrown out. He was a good man. It wasn't that he was an evil person. He made a mistake."
In addition to the head coach, the report implicated PSU Athletic Director Tim Curly, the University President Graham Spanier, and Vice President Gary Schultz in a cover-up of a 1998 shower incident in which the 68-year-old Sandusky was accused of showering with a boy and touching him inappropriately.
In May, a jury of seven women and five men found the 68 year-old guilty of 45 out of the 48 counts against him for sexual abuse of ten young boys over a span of 15 years. Sandusky, 68, is currently in Centre County prison awaiting his sentencing. He could face a maximum sentence of 373 years.