Jerry Sandusky Scandal

State College mural artist paints over image of Sandusky

Eventually, artist Michael Pilato plans to paint someone else in the chair where former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sat in his Hiester Street mural "Inspiration."

Pilato painted over Sandusky Wednesday afternoon, the former Penn State assistant coach charged last week with sexually abusing eight boys over 14 years.

The mural, which covers the side of the Student Book Store building, features dozens of local figures, and even Pilato's grandmother, holding his then-infant daughter, Skye. 

Pilato spoke to reporters about the mural, then climbed a ladder and made quick work of painting an empty chair where Sandusky used to be. He added a blue ribbon to the seat of the chair, representing child abuse.

Students and other passers-by stopped to watch, taking photos and video. Several State College police officers periodically asked gatherers to stay on the sidewalks and out of the street.

"I grew up right down the street from this mural," said Pilato, 43, speaking with some emotion. "It's awful. It's one of the worst days of my life."

As Pilato finished, he said a painted handprint on the arm of the chair was from the younger brother of someone associated with The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky started in State College to help at-risk children. Students gathered became wide-eyed when he said so.

"The Second Mile is an outstanding organization," Pilato said. "I hope people continue to support The Second Mile."

Emily Wilkins of State College, who knows Pilato through a neighbor, said a small group had discussed repainting the mural, and Pilato said he received feedback through his website. A mother of one of Sandusky's alleged victims also contacted him about it.

"I'm disgusted, I'm sad, I'm angry the response has been what it has thus far," Wilkins said. "I grew up here and I knew the Sandusky kids. It's personally heartbreaking as well."