CNN) — The statue of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been removed from outside the campus’ stadium, CNN affiliate WTAJ said.
The 900-pound bronze statue is being stored in a “secure location,” according to a statement from Penn State President Rodney Erickson. The tribute to Paterno had become an object of contention after the child rape scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
However, Paterno’s family said they believe taking down the statue serves no purpose.
“Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community. We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth,” the family said in a statement.
“It is not the university’s responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno. But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the board and other key players is far from complete,” it added.
Paterno’s statue and legacy came under fire after the release of the Freeh Report, the scathing investigation into the Sandusky scandal led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.
The report found several Penn State officials concealed evidence that Sandusky had sexually abused minors. Freeh concluded that Paterno could have prevented further sexual abuse had he taken action.
“I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university and beyond,” Erickson said.
“I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse,” he added.
On Sunday, Penn State employees began placing fencing around the statue, as well as a tarp. Local and university police were at the scene, and some students have gathered near the football field, Beaver Stadium.
Another tribute to Paterno — the university library that bears his name — will remain as it is, Erickson said.
“The library remains a tribute to Joe and Sue Paterno’s commitment to Penn State’s student body and academic success, and it highlights the positive impacts coach Paterno had on the university,” he wrote.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called Paterno “a powerful man who acted selfishly” who “deserves no public honors whatsoever.”
“We’re glad the statue is gone but that’s just a tiny step forward,” SNAP spokesman David Clohessy said in a statement. “We as a society must learn that a good way to deter child sex cover-ups is to punish, not praise, those who instigate such cover-ups.”
The NCAA, which oversees college sports, will hold a press conference to announce “corrective and punitive measures” against Penn State at 9 a.m. ET Monday, the organization said in a news release. NCAA President Mark Emmert and Ed Ray, the chairman of the executive committee, will attend the news conference.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted in late June of 45 of the 48 sexual abuse counts he faced, involving 10 victims. He will be sentenced in September.
Sandusky’s legal team has said it will appeal the convictions.
Two former university administrators are awaiting trial for their role in the scandal, and more charges are possible as the state’s attorney general investigates what Penn State may have known about Sandusky’s behavior.