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Week of turmoil leaves Penn State in a daze

(AP) - All the familiar sights and sounds ofa football weekend at Penn State were on display: Crowded sidewalksand restaurants, fans dressed in the blue-and-white of theircherished Nittany Lions, scalpers

News 12 Staff

May 20, 2014, 7:47 PM

Updated 3,685 days ago


(AP) - All the familiar sights and sounds ofa football weekend at Penn State were on display: Crowded sidewalksand restaurants, fans dressed in the blue-and-white of theircherished Nittany Lions, scalpers pestering passers-by for extratickets. Something, however, was clearly missing. Happy Valley is anything but these days. "There's no life here," Homer Berlew said as he and his wife,Sandra, strolled the campus to take pictures Friday. "Nothing isbeing said. It's like everyone's in a daze." As the most tumultuous week in Penn State's history came to aclose, the university struggled with a child sex-abuse scandal thathas rocked the school and cost football coach Joe Paterno andPresident Graham Spanier their jobs. The board of trustees, in its first public meeting since firingPaterno and Spanier, began the process of repairing Penn State'simage by forming a committee to investigate the university'sfailures to stop alleged sex abuse by former assistant coach JerrySandusky. The school also put wide receivers coach Mike McQueary - a keywitness against Sandusky - on paid leave. It already had saidMcQueary would not be at Saturday's final home game againstNebraska because of "multiple threats," and the HarrisburgPatriot-News reported he has told players by phone that he was in asecluded location outside State College. New president Rod Erickson plans to appoint an ethics officer,and said the school will review all standards, policies andprograms to ensure they meet "not only the law, but Penn State'sstandard." "I know we can do this. We are resilient; we are a universitythat will rebuild the trust and confidence that so many people havehad in us for so many years," said Erickson, formerly the provost. President Barack Obama called the situation "heartbreaking."Obama spoke at a college basketball game held Friday night on thedeck of an aircraft carrier. "It's a good time for us to do some soul searching - everyinstitution, not just Penn State - about what our priorities are,"Obama told ESPN. "Our first priority is protecting our kids, andwe all have a responsibility. We can't leave it to a system, wecan't leave it to somebody else." Paterno's son, Scott, meanwhile, released a statement saying hisfather had hired Wick Sollers, a high-profile criminal attorney. While not the subject of any criminal investigation, thewinningest coach in major college football wants "the truth to beuncovered and he will work with his lawyers to that end," ScottPaterno said. "My father is experiencing a range of powerful emotions. He isabsolutely distraught over what happened to the children and theirfamilies. He also wants very much to speak publicly and answerquestions," Scott Paterno said. "At this stage, however, he hasno choice but to be patient and defer to the legal process." Thousands of students held a candlelight vigil Friday night infront of the administration building to show support for the boyswho were allegedly abused, and several groups are raising money forvictims of sexual abuse, collecting more than $200,000 so far. Rather than the traditional "white out" for Saturday's game,fans were asked to wear blue - the color associated with childabuse awareness. Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania is sellingT-shirts with a blue ribbon and the slogan, "Stop Child Abuse,Blue Out Nebraska." "It's a really complex set of emotions on campus," SarahKnutson, a junior from Atlantic City, N.J., said as she manned abake sale in front of The Corner Room, the popular restaurantacross the street from the university gates. Money from sales ofthe homemade cookies, brownies and cupcakes with blue icing will goto Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania. "We're trying to get past it. But sometimes you can't get pastthings," Knutson said. "You have to work through them." Sandusky, Paterno's former assistant and onetime heir apparent,has been charged with molesting eight boys over 15 years, withseveral of the alleged incidents occurring on Penn State property.Paterno and Spanier were fired because trustees felt they did notdo enough to alert law enforcement authorities after an allegedassault in March 2002.Penn State assistant coach put on administrative leave

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