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May 25, 2015

Pa. lawmaker wants to rename bridge after Joe Paterno

Pennsylvania House Representative Mike Regan wants to rename a state bridge after deceased Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno.

In a memorandum sent to fellow lawmakers asking for cosponsorship, Regan, a Republican representing the state's 92nd legislative district, said he wants to introduce legalization to dub the Susquehanna River Bridge with the new title of Joseph V. Paterno Memorial Bridge.

The memorandum cites Paterno's winning history at Penn State as reason for renaming the bridge, which connects Interstate 76 from York County to Dauphin County.

Paterno's legacy has remained in question following questions regarding his knowledge of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping young boys. Sandusky was convicted of molesting 10 boys in 2012, using a charity and his status with the Penn State football program to do so. 

While Paterno was never officially charged with actively covering up the sexual abuse performed by Sandusky, the Freeh report, carried out by former FBI director Louis Freeh and commissioned by the University, said the coach and other key members of the program and university were complicit in concealing key facts about Sandusky's actions from authorities and the community. 

That report has been heavily disputed by Paterno's family, his supporters, and several members of the sports media. However, an email exchange uncovered in 2012 also suggests that Paterno may have had more knowledge of Sandusky's actions than he admitted. 

Paterno was dismissed from his position as head coach in the middle of the 2011 season because of the scandal, passing away not long afterwards in January 2012.

According to PennLive, who originally reported on the potential bill, Regan and Paterno's family could not immediately be reached for comment on the proposed name change.