Penn State alumnus in Memphis disappointed by riots

(WMC-TV) - Penn State alumni are divided over sex abuse scandal that has rocked the college in recent days.

Penn State erupted into chaos and confusion late Wednesday night after longtime football head coach Joe Paterno was fired. Memphian John Hirschman, a Penn State alumnus who lives in Memphis, said Thursday he was upset by the riots.

"I'm also disappointed in our students there now," he said. "They rioted the city and turned over a news truck. I think it was uncalled for and immature."

The Board of Trustees fired Joe Paterno over his handling of an incident involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky, a long-time assistant and the one-time heir apparent to succeed Paterno as the Nittany Lions' head coach, has been charged by a grand jury with 40 criminal counts accusing him of molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009.

Sandusky retired from PSU in 1999 but still had access to the university's athletic facilities through his charity for at-risk youth.

Paterno came under fire for failing to call police after learning Sandusky had allegedly raped a child in a university locker room back in 2002. Instead, he told the school's athletic director.

"I feel deeply saddened that Joe Paterno had to be fired due to this, for one, because he wasn't the one who did this," Hirschman said. "It's not his fault. He didn't turn it over to the correct authorities."

Hirschman hopes the recent sexual abuse scandal does not hurt the university's image.

"What are we preaching to our kids, the future of our generation? It's really going to take a lot to get over this," he said.

Hirschman is also worried Penn State could have a tough time regaining trust from society.

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