New Castle News

Penn State Scandal

July 23, 2012

Sadness comes with Paterno statue removal

STATE COLLEGE — Cloresa Turner drove to central Pennsylvania from Virginia to see the statue of veteran Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

When she arrived in State College on Sunday and saw that it was gone from its place outside the university stadium, she clasped her hand over her mouth.

“He’s done so much for this university. It’s sad,” said Turner, of Martinsville, Va. “To wipe it all away is like he meant nothing.”

Construction vehicles and police arrived shortly after dawn Sunday, barricading the street and sidewalks near the statue, erecting a chain-link fence and then concealing the 7-foot-tall statue with a blue tarp.

Workers used jackhammers to free the statue and a forklift to lower it onto a flatbed truck that rolled into a stadium garage bay as some of the 100 to 150 students and other onlookers chanted, “We are Penn State.”

The university announced Sunday that it was taking down the monument in the wake of an investigative report that found that the late coach and three other top Penn State administrators concealed sex abuse claims against Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys, sometimes on Penn State’s campus.

Penn State President Rodney 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” and would be “a recurring wound” to victims of child abuse had it remained.

The statue had become such a lightning rod for public opinion amid the child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State that even President Barack Obama weighed in. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told Washington reporters Sunday afternoon that Obama believed “it was the right decision” for the university to remove the monument.

Earlier, the Paterno family issued a statement saying the statue’s removal “does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community.”

The family, which has vowed its own investigation, called the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh the “incomplete and unofficial” equivalent of a charging document by a prosecutor and said the only way to help the victims “is to uncover the full truth.”

“It is not the University’s responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno,” the statement said. “But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the board and other key players is far from complete.”

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 I coaching victory and his “contributions to the university.”

Some who came out to watch the statue’s removal were angry that it had been done with so little notice that many missed it — “It was under cloak of darkness,” said Diane Byerly, 63, of Harrisburg — and worried that stiff sanctions from the NCAA would punish the innocent while possibly destroying businesses that rely on the commerce from the tens of thousands who flood State College on game days.

“I think there’s ways you can punish the parties involved without affecting all of State College,” said Richard Hill, a 1967 graduate from West Chester.

Chris Stathes, 40, a lifelong Penn State football fan who has a daughter at the school and manages two State College breakfast eateries, said shutting down the program would devastate area businesses.

“Football season, that’s our moment. From the time we open our doors in the morning until kickoff, there’s a line out the door,” he said.

Philip Frum, 24, who works on research projects for Penn State, said he hoped the statue would be erected elsewhere, such as at a nearby Penn State sports museum.

“This statue was a symbol of all the good things he’s done for the university,” Frum said. Any NCAA penalty that shuts down the football program “will be just as bad as taking down the statue,” he said.

The university president 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.”

The statue’s sculptor, Angelo Di Maria, said he felt like a part of him was being taken down with it.

“When things quiet down, if they do quiet down, I hope they don’t remove it permanently or destroy it,” Di Maria said. “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.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Penn State Scandal
  • sandusky.jpg Penn State scandal played out in courts over 2013

    Penn State paid millions to settle claims of child sexual abuse, three university administrators accused of a cover-up fought the charges and NCAA penalties were dialed down slightly as the Jerry Sandusky scandal continued to play out in many different ways over the past year.

    December 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Appeals court denies Sandusky new trial

     Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky should not get a new trial after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Wednesday.

    October 2, 2013 1 Photo

  • Penn State Abuse1.jpg Three from PSU ordered to stand trial

    Penn State’s ex-president and two former top school administrators were ordered yesterday to stand trial on charges accusing them of a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

    July 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • Penn State Saga: Paterno lawyer says estate to sue NCAA

    The family of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno — along with several university trustees, former players and others connected to the school — plan to sue the NCAA over the landmark sanctions against the university for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

    May 30, 2013

  • Paterno family speaks at child abuse event

    On the night before he died, Joe Paterno scrawled a message that his wife Sue did not find until after the legendary coach had passed away. In that message, Joe Paterno noted the silver lining in the child sex abuse coverup that led to his firing might be that the scandal could inspire a greater awareness about child abuse.

    April 12, 2013

  • Judge: No new trial for Sandusky

    Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Wednesday when a judge rejected his argument that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the three-week proceeding that ended with a 45-count guilty verdict.

    January 30, 2013

  • Spanier.tiff Ex-PSU president Spanier charged in sex abuse scandal

    Former Penn State President Graham Spanier on Thursday became the latest high-ranking school official to face charges in the child sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Additional charges were also filed against two other school officials already charged in the case.

    November 1, 2012 1 Photo

  • dd5576bc7a387e1c1d0f6a7067004664.jpg Our Opinion: Sandusky jail term protects children and sends a message

    There probably isn’t much new to say about the Jerry Sandusky saga at this point. However, yesterday’s sentencing of Sandusky to 30 to 60 years in prison — essentially a life term — for his conviction on child sex abuse charges, warrants additional comment.

    October 10, 2012 1 Photo

  • dd5576bc7a387e1c1d0f6a7067004664.jpg Jerry Sandusky will die in prison, judge says

    Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison — effectively a life sentence — in the child-sex-abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. A defiant Sandusky gave a rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.

    October 9, 2012 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 892c29737a097e1c1d0f6a706700ba3c.jpg Former PSU assistant Jerry Sandusky sentenced to at least 30 years in prison

    Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison — effectively a life sentence — in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. A defiant Sandusky gave a rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.

    October 9, 2012 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

What is your favorite Easter treat?

Jelly beans
Chocolate ... bunnies, crosses, anything that’s chocolate!
Marshmallow peeps
Decorated eggs
Other
     View Results