Penn State removes Paterno’s statue from campus

Mourners gather at the Joe Paterno statue at Penn State University in January.

Penn State University removed a statue of late football coach Joe Paterno from its grounds, deciding it has become “a source of division” after the conviction of one of Paterno’s long-time assistants on child sex-abuse charges last month.

“I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a statement on Sunday.

“For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location,” Erickson said. “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.”

At the same time, Erickson said, he feels “strongly” that Penn State’s Paterno Library should retain its name.

Critics had increased calls for the seven-foot (2.1-metre) statue of Paterno to be removed following the recent release of a damning report by former FBI director Louis Freeh that criticized Paterno for his role in protecting Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.


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