THOMPSONTOWN (AP) — A billboard near a rural highway touts the accomplishments of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and takes issue with any blame he was assigned in the university’s child sex abuse scandal.
Pennlive.com reported Friday that the two-panel billboard touts Paterno’s 409 career victories beneath a blue sign with lettering that reads, “You can’t cover up 61 years of success with honor.”
The billboard is near Thompsontown in Juniata County, about 50 miles from State College, where Penn State is based. It takes issue with investigators who determined Paterno knew about past child sex abuse by former assistant Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted and imprisoned last year. The NCAA has sanctioned the university over the sex abuse scandal, but Paterno’s supporters say he’s not at fault.
A group called Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship designed similar billboards that were placed across the state last fall, but spokeswoman Maribeth Roman Schmidt said the group isn’t behind this one and doesn’t know who is.
“Our position on it is that the alumni passion on this issue of appropriately recognizing Joe Paterno and continuing to find the truth is much larger than our (organization),” Schmidt said. “There’s people out there all over the place trying to contribute to the cause.”
Sandusky was convicted of dozens of counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence, acknowledging he showered with boys but insisting he didn’t molest any of them.