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In his first off-the-cuff public speech since the ghastly allegations of child sexual abuse shook Penn State University this weekend, the school's embattled football coach Joe Paterno spoke to a crowd of students gathered outside his home.
"We're always gonna be Penn State, regardless of what happens to certain people," he said to the flock of cheering students, according to video recorded by the Daily Collegian.
The rally -- and Paterno's call for school spirit -- comes amid dark days for the school's once-revered football program. On Saturday, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sex crimes with minors. The careers of Paterno and university president Graham Spanier lie in the balance, as they knew of the abuse allegedly committed by Sandusky over a period of 15 years.
According to the New York Times, Paterno, the winningest coach in college football history, may step down or be forced to resign imminently. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has flown to the Happy Valley to attend the school's Board of Trustees meeting Friday. The board has been holding emergency meetings to deal with the situation, which has already caused two top officials to step down.
Paterno told the throng of 300 students outside his home that their visit meant a lot to him, and also asked them to honor the victims who were allegedly targeted by Sandusky. "The kids who were victims, whatever they want to say, I think we need to say a prayer for them," Paterno said. "It's a tough life when people do certain things to you." Read more at the Daily Collegian.
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