Unhappy Valley: Some Penn State grads call to take down Joe Paterno statue after Freeh report
Penn State graduates across the nation reeled Thursday, in the wake of the damning Freeh report alleging that iconic football coach Joe Paterno essentially turned a blind eye to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.
Some former Happy Valley denizens are even calling for JoePa’s statue on the campus to be taken down — immediately.
“He knew or should have known and did NOTHING. Children suffered,” PSU grad Michael Brint wrote on the Penn State Alumni Facebook page today. “Rip the statue down NOW.”
“St Joepa your Bronze Statue and halo are a fraud … tear it down,” wrote Douglas Rutkowski on another Penn State Alumni Facebook page.
But other Penn State grads were skeptical of the report’s findings, and voiced continued loyalty to the deceased coach. Paterno did in January of lung cancer, two months after he was fired amidst the sex abuse scandal.
“He was the football coach. He wasn’t like, the Penn State day care supervisor. He had a very specific job to do, and he certainly did that to the best of his ability,” said 2002 Penn State graduate Patrick Kelley, now a lawyer in Erie, PA.
“Even if somebody (expletive) up once you can’t and shouldn’t erase all the good things they did,” he added.
The 267-page report was written and investigated by the Freeh, Sporkin and Sullivan law firm. Using a series of emails and other documents, Freeh came to the conclusion that Paterno was aware of at least two allegations that Sandusky abused young boys over a period of several years, and did little to prevent the abuse.
The report also named Penn State President Graham Spanier, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz, and athletic director Timothy Curley as other heavily involved officials.
“Four of the most powerful people at the Pennyslvania State University … failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade,” read the report. “They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims.”
Sandusky, 68, was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys. He now faces 373 years in prison.