- (PHOTO: REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)
Joe Paterno, late Penn State coach who died in the wake of a child molestation investigation taking place at the university, is no angel, according to an artist who recently removed his halo from a mural located near the college campus.
Paterno, former Penn State coach who died last January, was given a halo by mural artist Michael Pilato after his passing. However, Pilato removed the halo after the findings from the investigation were open to the public and proved that Paterno may have concealed information about the sex abuse case that has been plaguing the school since late last year.
The sex abuse scandal taking place at the school surrounds Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for the football team who worked closely with Paterno and was charged with 45 counts involving the sexual abuse of 10 boys over 15 years before retiring in 1999.
The boys who suffered from the abuse were at-risk youth who Sandusky met through his Second Mile charity. The former Penn State defensive coordinator stopped dealing with the charity in 2008, when the sexual abuse allegations first arose.
Sandusky, who is awaiting sentencing, was once a part of the mural located near the Penn State campus. However, Pilato said he removed Sandusky's image after allegations first arose last November.
The artist told ABC News that he recently removed the halo from Paterno's head and decided to replace it with a blue lapel to symbolize sexual abuse awareness.
"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.
Still, the artist said some are asking him to remove Paterno's entire likeness from the view of the school.
"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.
The artist of the mural said he is still trying to figure out the best way to handle the image of Graham Spanier, former university president who may have also concealed information regarding Sandusky's abuse. Pilato admitted that the entire process has been trying for him.
"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. "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."