Searching For Paterno's Statue

- UNIVERSITY PARK, CENTRE COUNTY - The decision to remove the statue of the late Penn State Football Coach Joe  Paterno remains one of the most controversial decisions made following fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

It was last seen in July of 2012 as police officers surrounded it and campus maintenance workers took it down and whisked it away inside Beaver Stadium.

The statue has been reportedly moved from time to time, and it's become one of the biggest mysteries in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania...where did the PSU administration hide the statue of Joe Paterno?

"I don't know," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson, who ultimately made the decision to take down the statue. "That's right, I don't know."

When asked if he had any plans to put the statue back in its original location outside Beaver Stadium, Erickson said it wasn't wasn't his decision to make.

"That will be a decision that the board [of trustees] can make at another date," he said.

Almost sixteen months after the statue was taken down, there's still much speculation as to where it has been stored.

"That's the mystery," said Penn State sophomore Brady Williams. "I've heard it's underground, underneath Beaver Stadium...but who knows?"

One PSU fan has even started his own campaign and petition with hopes of bringing the statue back to its former location.

"I think they handled the whole thing incorrectly from the beginning," said Brian Hassinger, founder of pro-Paterno statue group. "The petition has more than 5,000 signatures."

Hassinger said he's heard all the statue rumors.

"I've heard it's underneath Beaver Stadium, inside Beaver Stadium," he continued. "I've heard it's been taken to a couple of buildings nearby too."

Hassinger said he's spoken with one maintenance worker who said the statue has been taken to the Materials Research Building, just down the street from Beaver Stadium.

WTAJ spoke with maintenance workers both inside and outside of the cluster of materials  research buildings who said they have not seen the statue.

One source told WTAJ the statue has been boxed up and is currently sitting in a long-term Penn State archive/storage building just across the street from the Nittany Mall along East College Avenue, although a source with very close ties to the Penn State administration insists it's still inside Beaver Stadium.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R), technically a member of the Penn State Board of  Trustees, recently dodged a question about the statue while talking to reporters in Johnstown.

"I'm not going to get in the middle of that," Corbett said.

After multiple emails to Penn State officials and Board of Trustee members asking about the location of the statue, Penn State Director of Communications Lisa Powers responded with the following email.

"The statue, as has been said before, is in an undisclosed location. I have no idea where it 
may be -- so I don't believe we have anything to add to your story."

In the process of this investigation, multiple sources have come forward with various credible statue locations, and WTAJ is still pursuing many of those tips.

Based on multiple sources with close knowledge of the situation, WTAJ has learned that Penn State is still in possession of the statue, the statue is still in tact and has not been destroyed, and there are plans to eventually bring the statue back, although it's not clear where or when.

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