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Penn Staters See Game Day As Time For Healing

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) – The cloud still hangs over Penn State, following stunning child sex charges against a former assistant football coach and an alleged cover-up by school officials (see complete coverage). But, today, that football team hosts Nebraska (kick-off is at noon).  And, while there are security concerns about the game, many students are hoping it’s a chance for them to rally together to begin the healing process.

There is an increased police presence out here. Police have even installed a temporary communications tower for emergency personnel, in case anything does happen.

As for the game, many alumni making their first visit back to campus since the news broke, say they’re dealing with a wide range of emotions, but note that today is senior day for several players who, they point out, had nothing to with the allegations.

“It’s a strange environment. It’s going to be weird to be in the stadium today, but we’re here basically for the team; we’re supporting the players. (We) certainly don’t like the circumstances, but we’re still Penn State fans so…”

And no one’s forgetting the victims. Students are out collecting money for foundations working against child abuse. Alumni say that’s a good first step towards healing.

“With some of the riots and stuff downtown, from the outside media it’s looked upon negatively, so a football game — cheering on for Penn State — will be a good healing rallying call for us cheering on our football team for a big win.”

After 61 years with the team, it’s no surprise students in their late teens and early 20’s can’t imagine a football team without Joe Paterno.

“It made me so upset, but there’s nothing we can do about it. So what do we have to do?  We have to focus on how we react.”

Following a riot in downtown State College after the Paterno announcement many people think there will be some issues today, students though say that’s not representative of the entire campus.

“Whatever happened at the riots, they’re still the minority. There are 45,000 students at this university and there were not 45,000 students downtown (rioting).”

Students, though, hope they’re classmates aren’t stupid today.

“There’s going to be people who do stuff like that, but I think we’re all going to be focused more on winning the football game. Forget about the bad things for a little while, try to keep our spirits up. But, there’s obviously going to be those kids that are going to do stupid things.”

Most students say they are thinking of the alleged victims and they’re very disturbed there may have been a cover-up. But they point out the players — their fellow classmates — had nothing to do with that.

Feelings on Paterno being fired are mixed, though most students asked, say they do wish they could have one seen him coach one last game.

Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Samira Harrison

    This story is soul crushing, and beyond Sad, why your skin should crawl is because of the level of freedom, free access and VIP pass this very Sick man Sandusky was given to children, by Men, ( humans?)… I find it all beyond disgusting….. But as our history has shown us, Molestation is nothing new, sadly not even that unusual…. So as parents we speak to the dangers,the uncomfortable feelings, the odd behavior, we speak to the sick behaviors of the child molester .. We try and protect our children, with the understanding that we can’t be there at all times, accidents, incidents, awful things happen… As a mother with a Son, I know I have to talk to my child about molesters they can be strangers but most likely they will be people you will Trust.. So I have to tell him…don’t let anyone touch your privates, understand the uncomfortable feelings, Etc…. Sadly, I hope everyone reading this who has a child has had this talk as well. ( If not, NOW is the time to start….) Why this story crosses the sad and crushes the soul….The 28 year old College Grad student…HE is the one I am scared of…HE is the one who has me speechless. I would have never thought to protect my son against him, in fact I wouldn’t even know how….. In a Grand jury report…HE said he witnessed a crime, HE said he saw a boy who must be ten years old with his hands up against a wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky.. He left distraught…… One moment while I SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What MAN,SON, HUMAN, sees a child being rapped and doesn’t stop it????? ” The Graduate assistant ran to his office and called his Dad… His dad said… WAIT…..ONE MOMENT WHILE I SCREAM, and then KICK SOMETHING… .. The Father told his Son to leave the building immediately and come straight to his house…. WHAT MAN, FATHER, SON, HUMAN, hears a child is being rapped and doesn’t think to tell his 28 year old son to go help the child while he calls the police… I can only imagine the young child in locker room is similar to my 9 year old son… Still kind, sweet, and pretty much clueless, until it comes to sports… And boy…. does he love to play… Run, jump, be a part of a team.. And boy is he fast.. When it’s time to buy a pair of shoes, they don’t see if they “fit” they run around the store to make sure they are fast… The child in the locker room with his hands against the wall getting rapped… by a very sick old Man is only there because he loves football… that’s is it…..We all know he must have been praying to God… “Please send someone to save me…” He knows this has to be wrong…. A grown Man walks in… and makes eye contact…. ( young boy must think ohhhh… GOD is real….he sent someone…. ) The 28 year old man makes eye contact with the boy and the man raping him… he tells a grand jury that the boy and Sandusky look at him as well… ….Then the man walks OUT…. … The young boy must now think….on second thought this rape MUST be okay… When one person hurts you… in a sexual way….. at such a young age….it is a human primal instinct that tells you…. in your gut this is wrong….. but you haven’t started puberty… you don’t understand sex….you know that it is wrong, and you are so scared…. but you don’t know enough about what is happening …. the actions taken against you… to speak about it…… But, it is BAD enough that maybe you will tell someone you trust later.. THEN.. an adult…HE…. . someone who will help you if your being abused….. walks IN and walks OUT.. I imagine a young boy has to then say “well I guess this IS Okay, or I am sure HE would have helped me…..” All the Children in this debacle were rapped twice, once by a sick Man… ( Side note: to my Son, we have talked about him/her…Trust your tummy and that feeling you get, I am sorry that the person is out there who can hurt you, but we will be better prepared by knowing what to look for, and being aware of him/her…there are no secrets that you can’t tell me… ) The Second rape…. by an institution of Men who somehow lost there minds and souls over a Football program. ( Side note: to my Son, I don’t know how to prepare you for this, I wasn’t aware humanity had sunk this low, I am sick, and very sorry..and scared…) ONE MOMENT WHILE I SCREAM, KICK SOMETHING, AND CRY……..

    To Penn State’s Football program. .. This is from Mother Teresa.
    “It’s the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

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