(Newsroom America) -- The statue of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been removed from outside the campus football stadium, after university president Rodney Erickson ordered it removed.
The sound of jack-hammering could be heard at the statue early Sunday morning with a heavy police presence keeping people and media away from the area.
Mr Erickson said with the release of Judge Freeh's Report of the Special Investigative Counsel, the community has had to confront a failure of leadership at many levels.
The report found several university officials concealed evidence that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused boys, and concluded that if Paterno had taken action he could have prevented further sexual abuse.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 victims.
Mr Erickson said the statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium had become a "lightning rod of controversy and national debate, including the role of big time sports in university life."
The Freeh Report had given a great deal to reflect upon and to consider, including Coach Paterno's legacy, he said.
"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," he said.
Mr Erickson said the Paterno Library symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University.
"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. Thus I feel strongly that the library's name should remain unchanged."
Mr Erickson said the world will be watching how Penn State addresses its challenges in the days ahead.
"While some may take issue with the decisions I have made, I trust that everyone associated with our University will respond in a civil and respectful manner.
"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," he said.