After a wide-reaching child abuse scandal has rocked the university, Penn State finally removed the statue of its beloved and flawed football coach Joe Paterno this morning. The AP reports, "Workers lifted the statue off its base and used a forklift to move it into Beaver Stadium as the 100 to 150 students watching chanted, 'We are Penn State.'"

The university made the decision after an independent investigation from former FBI director Louis Freeh found that Paterno apparently lied about how much he knew about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's child abuse. The scandal, which involved countless boys claiming that Sandusky abused and raped them (and Paterno and university officials knew about the allegations but never went to authorities), led to Paterno's retirement and Sandusky's eventual conviction, as well as soul-searching for a school that relies on the football program Paterno built.

Penn State University President Rodney Erickson issued a statement about the statue's removal this morning:

Throughout Penn State, the two most visible memorials to Coach Paterno are the statue at Beaver Stadium and the Paterno Library. The future of these two landmarks has been the topic of heated debate and many messages have been received in various University offices, including my own. We have heard from numerous segments of the Penn State community and others, many of whom have differing opinions. These are particularly important decisions when considering things that memorialize such a revered figure.

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. For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. 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.

The famed statue of Joe Paterno was taken down from outside the Penn State football stadium Sunday, eliminating a key piece of the iconography surrounding the once-sainted football coach accused of burying child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant.

Erickson added, "I fully realize that my decision will not be popular in some Penn State circles, but I am certain it is the right and principled decision. I believe we have chosen a course that both recognizes the many contributions that Joe Paterno made to the academic life of our University, while taking seriously the conclusions of the Freeh Report and the national issue of child sexual abuse. Today, as every day, our hearts go out to the victims."

The NCAA will be holding a press conference at Penn State tomorrow; it's expected that there will be "unprecedented" penalties for the school.