After former FBI Director Louis Freeh's report on the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse revealed that Pennsylvania State University's once-legendary football coach Joe Paterno actively covered up the scandal, controversy has erupted over the status of Paterno's memorial statue at Penn State.
Despite the mounting calls for the statue to be torn down, Penn State's trustees have decided the statue will remain standing, at least for now.
You can't let people stampede you into making a rash decision, a trustee told ESPN. The statue represents the good that Joe did. It doesn't represent the bad that he did.
Apparently, trustees are planning on waiting a number of months before re-evaluating the statue's status.
We don't want to jump the gun again, one trustee said. When we did that in November, look where we ended up. If it does have to come down, it will be after much deliberation and discussion. If I had my way, [the statue] will always be there. People can take from it what they want, an unidentified board member told ESPN.
A guard was posted in front of the statue on Saturday to prevent vandalism.
Louis Freeh's eight-month investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal revealed that Joe Paterno not only had knowledge of defensive coordinator Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys dating back to at least 1998, but also that Paterno repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse.
When the scandal broke, it was revealed that Paterno had knowledge of at least of some Sandusky's activites. In 2002, Mike McQueary reported seeing Sandusky apparently having inappropriate contact with a 10-year-old boy in the school showers. Paterno reported the news to his immediate supervisor, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and to Vice President of Finance and Business Gary Schultz. However, Paterno described Sandusky's actions as fondling and took no further action.
When this news came to light in November 2011, Paterno offered to retire at the end of the season. However, the trustees instead dismissed Paterno immediately. His supporters rioted in the streets, claiming their action was too harsh.
In January, Paterno died from lung cancer.
After the results of the Freeh report, however, there have been far fewer voices defending the former Penn State head coach.
In the wake of the report, Nike has opted to remove Paterno's name from its child-development center. And a Heister Street memorial in State College, Pa., depicting Paterno with a halo has been painted over, removing the angelic iconography from the scene.