Aftershock: Penn State students react to a child sex abuse scandal and the loss of a revered coach
It started with a trickle of news. Students at the University Park campus of Penn State University learned that a former assistant football coach had been indicted by a grand jury nearly a hundred miles away.
The story written by Sara Ganim, a recent Penn State graduate herself, was published on a Friday evening on the website for the Harrisburg Patriot-News. The next day a second Ganim story linked to the 40-count indictment against forrmer Nittany Lions football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The 23-page document presented by a Dauphin County grand jury painted a sordid picture of a trusted adult who allegedly used his football and charity positions to molest eight boys.
The grand jury document also described actions -- or lack of action -- taken by university officials to investigate some of the incidents, in particular an alleged shower room liaison in a Penn State football locker room between Sandusky and a teen boy that was witnessed by another assistant coach.
By Tuesday it was clear that the job of revered football coach Joe Paterno was in jeopardy. Athletic Director Tim Curley and interim Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz faced indictment. Satellite trucks were parked in front of Old Main and next to Beaver Stadium. The university president was forced to resign. Then Joe Paterno was fired.
Questions began. How upset should students be about a coach, when teen and pre-teen boys had allegedly been sexually abused?
Thousands of students attended a candle light vigil in front of Old Main to show their support for the alleged victims.
Students began to assess their motivations and reflect on the tarnished reputations of people and institutions they had admired. This project reflects their thoughts.
-- photos and video by Kelley King, Jill Hunt, Chloe Elmer, Tom Ruane,
Jeremy Kahn, Dan Hamilton, Tyler Sizemore, Michael Misciagno,
Joseph Streb, Kelsey Morris and Amanda August
Headlines from The Daily Collegian
Essay by Kirk Dyson
The Paterno factor
Students at Penn State had a special relationship with coach Joe Paterno. Even though he held the record for most victories by a NCAA Division 1 football coach, he hardly lived in a bubble. Paterno's house was only a couple blocks away from campus. On a nice day he liked to walk to work. Everyone seemed to have a story about meeting him.
This cell phone video, made for The Daily Collegian the night before he was fired, shows that special relationship as Paterno opens a window to address hundreds of students standing in his front yard to show their support.
-- video by Aaron Dunlevy
We are ... voices of Penn State
Just a few weeks following the indictment of former coach Jerry Sandusky, journalists Krista Myers and Katherine Rodriguez made this video as nearly a dozen Penn State students shared their thoughts, feelings and reflections on what happened.
-- video by Krista Myers and Katherine Rodriguez
~ Content included in this project was first published in The Daily Collegian, Centre County Report, the ComMedia websites and OnwardState.com.