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Penn State scandal: Students raise funds for child abuse victims

Penn State scandal: Penn State students plan a vigil and fund-raising events ahead of Saturday's Penn State vs. Nebraska game. This is the last home game of the Penn State football season.

By Staff / November 11, 2011

Penn State students flipped over a television news van during a riot after it was announced that Joe Paterno would no longer be head coach of Penn State Football on Wednesday.

AP Photo/Michael Henninger - Post-Gazette

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Penn State students are calling it a "Blue Out."

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In an effort to shift the focus from Penn State head coach Joe Paterno's firing to the victims of alleged sexual abuse, Penn State students are planning several events Friday and Saturday – including wearing blue at Saturday's football game.

Normally, Penn State football fans wear white to games to create a "white out" effect in the stands. At Saturday's game, fans plan a "Blue Out," and money raised by selling blue T-shirts will go to Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania.

After picking up a “Stop Child Abuse Blue Out” T-shirt at McLanahan’s store in State College, Penn.,  Penn State student Erin Grogan told the Penn State Collegian that wearing the shirt is a way to remember and support the victims in the case.

“I think this week has been on the wrong side of this,” said Grogan, apparently referring to the student protests which turned violent after it was announced Wednesday night that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had been fired.  

Too much focus has been on other people besides those affected by the alleged abuse, Penn State sophomore Grogan told The Collegian.

On Friday, the mother of one of the boys allegedly abused by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, spoke to ABC's "Good Morning America" She was not identified beyond being the mother of "Victim No. 1" in the 23-page grand jury report that led to Sandusky being charged with 40 counts of abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.

In the interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, the boy's mother says she gradually became aware of the abuse her son was suffering. She said that her son would do things to intentionally misbehave to get himself grounded and avoid having to see Sandusky. She said that he asked her, at one point, how to look up information about sex offenders.

"[I] proceeded to ask him if there was something he needed to tell me, if there was something going on … it wasn't 'til a month later when he indicated he was uncomfortable with leaving the school with him, and [Sandusky] pulling him out of classes at school," she said.

In Texas, prosecutors say they have opened an investigation into whether charges should be brought against Sandusky. According to the grand jury report,  "Victim No 4" said hat he was sexually assaulted by Sandusky during a visit to San Antonio for the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

Meanwhile, at State College, Penn., students are planning several events tonight in support of the alleged victims.

A candlelight vigil for victims of sex abuse is planned on the Penn State campus at 9:30 p.m. Friday. Several speakers are scheduled, as well as performances by the Penn State Blue Band, a marching band, and "Nota," a well-known student a cappella group.

At 10 p.m. a moment of silence will be held on the Penn State campus for victims of abuse.

"We are just as horrified, if not more than a lot of people,"  Kyle Harris, a Penn State senior who is one of the vigil organizers, told CNN. "We want to make an impact. We want to show these kids we care."

Tammy Lerner, director of the Foundation to Abolish Child Abuse, told CNN that her group plans to hold a vigil Saturday night at 7 p.m. Saturday to promote awareness about abuse and other issues related to the recent developments -- such as university transparency and protocols over the issue, legislative change and focus on those who have been abused.

"This whole thing has not been victim-centered," she said.

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