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article imageMural artist removes Joe Paterno's halo, adds new symbol on lapel

By Yukio Strachan     Jul 14, 2012 in Sports
State College - On Saturday afternoon, a mural artist removed a halo from over the head of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and painted in something else –– a large blue ribbon on Paterno's lapel symbolizing his support for child abuse victims.
"Sadly today is one of the hardest things that I've done. I got rid of his halo," said the mural's artist, Michael Pilato, in a video on OnwardState, now posted on YouTube.
Pilato said the Thursday's release Freeh Report that rebuked the coach and three other Penn State administrators, in the strongest terms, has stirred up emotions, according to MSNBC.
"People are crying in front of the mural. Some are angry, saying, 'Take him out of there' or 'Don't take him out of there,' he said.
Pilato, who put a halo over Paterno's image after the coach's death in January, painted over the halo on Saturday afternoon with the help of an assistant, Penn State live reports.
"Sue Paterno said 'Joe wasn't a saint.' A lot of people look the halos that I do for that reason. The reason I put halos on people [is that] when they pass away, it reminds us we had a short time on Earth," Pilato said in the video.
Pilato, who started the mural called "Inspiration" 12 years ago honoring Penn State legends,
said not everyone believes he should be honored.
"We're all humans, but that was a major mistake he (Paterno) made, so his legacy has been tarnished. No ifs, ands or buts about it," Pilato said according to MSNBC, adding that people have been throwing things at a picture of former Penn State president Graham Spanier on the mural located on the side of a Penn State bookstore.
What happened: the Freeh Report
As Yahoo news reports, Penn State leaders including the late football coach Joe Paterno covered up Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children for years, showing a callous disregard for the victims to protect a multimillion-dollar football program, said former FBI director Louis Freeh on Thursday.
"Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State," Freeh said in his 267 page report. "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.
According again to Yahoo, the Freeh report goes further, saying emails exchanged in 1998 and 2001 showed school officials discussed reporting the allegations about Sandusky to law enforcement, but someone changed their minds: Joe Paterno.
The report said after speaking to Paterno "they changed the plan and decided not to make a report," Freeh said.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted last month of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years and faces up to 373 years in prison. He filed his intent to appeal the conviction on Thursday.
Joe Paterno now wears a child abuse support ribbon
Pilato said he probably will add something to Paterno's image. He won't remove Paterno, as he did Jerry Sandusky, but he will make changes.
"There's symbols that will be added to express what happened," Pilato said.
By Saturday afternoon, he added a large blue ribbon on Joe Paterno's lapel symbolizing his support for child abuse victims–– an idea he said Paterno endorsed before his death, the Post Gazette reports.
An email sent to Pilato Saturday evening from this Digital Journalist was not immediately returned.
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