Riot Erupts at Penn State Over Firing of Joe Paterno
Thousands of Penn State supporters were involved in a riot at State College, Pa., on Wednesday night, in protest at the firing of coach Joe Paterno over the school’s handling of child sexual abuse allegations.
Paterno, the longest-tenured coach in major-college football, was sacked from his position following the indictment of Paterno’s long-serving assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, on charges of child sex abuse. Sandusky is currently free on $100,000 bail pending his trial, but could face life in prison if convicted.
Around 2,000 people are thought to have attended the riots, which saw several arrests, a news van flipped over (see above), and damage to property on the State College grounds.
By 12:20am local time on Thursday, the university had issued an official police dispersal order via its Facebook page, ordering students to leave downtown State College immediately. A strong state police presence ensured crowds vacated the college’s land.
In a statement to the press, Joe Paterno said:
“A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm, and please respect the university, its property and all that we value.”
Looks like some didn’t get the memo …
Anyhoo, while Sandusky awaits his trial, many observers are left wondering why Paterno didn’t do more when the allegations of child abuse were first brought to his attention. Associated Press reports that current assistant coach Mike McQueary reported to Paterno in 2002 that he had seen Sandusky touch a 10-year-old boy in the showers at Penn State.
[Image via FOX]