Joe Paterno Mural: Artist Erases Halo Over Penn State Coach’s Head

By Olivia Katrandjian

Jul 15, 2012 11:27am
AP penn state abuse joe paterno mural jt 120715 wblog Joe Paterno Mural: Artist Erases Halo Over Penn State Coachs Head

Credit: Nabil K. Mark, Abby Drey, Centre Daily Times/AP Photo

An artist erased the halo over the late Joe Paterno on a mural in State College, Penn., after a report found the Penn State football coach helped cover up child sex abuse by a former assistant coach.

The mural, located across the street from the Penn State campus, features the Nittany Lions late football coach Joe Paterno in the forefront.

The artist Michael Pilato had put a halo over Paterno’s image after the coach’s death in January, but after the damning results of an internal investigation was released Thursday detailing Paterno’s choice to “conceal” allegations of child sex abuse against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, Pilato said he had to remove it.

Paterno’s family denies report’s claim.

PHOTOS: Joe Paterno Through the Years

Pilato added a large blue ribbon on Paterno’s lapel symbolizing support for child abuse victims, a cause the artist said Paterno had endorsed.

“When I took the halo off of Joe, it was kind of saying that he’s a human being, put the blue ribbon on him as well, and that was talking about sexual abuse awareness,” Pilato told ABC News Radio.

Pilato said he’s been under pressure to remove Paterno all together.

“A lot of people are calling for me to take him off of the mural – I won’t do that, that would be changing history, but I also believe that we can’t erase that mistake that he made towards the end of his life which was devastating of course to so many young men,” Pilato said.

Pilato completely removed former assistant coach Sandusky’s image from the mural last November. Sandusky has been convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

The report claimed that former university president Graham Spanier also buried allegations of child sex-abuse against Sandusky.

Pilato tells ABC News he’s still deciding what to do with Spanier’s image on the mural.

“People are throwing stuff at him on the mural, you know also it’s pretty hardcore, you know he was the guy up at the top of the chain of command here at Penn State and the stuff in the Freeh report is pretty damaging,” Pilato said.

Pilato said he’s thinking of painting a blindfold over Spanier’s eyes.

“Put a blindfold on him, um, you know things like that, I have no idea right now, you know, I haven’t slept in days because of this whole thing,” Pilato said.

 

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