HARRISBURG (AP) - A central Pennsylvania man says he paid for a billboard on a rural highway praising Joe Paterno because he wanted to shine a light on the late Penn State football coach's accomplishments.
Larry Peters, 79, a Hummelstown native, told PennLive.com on Monday that he sponsored the billboard near Thompsontown in Juniata County, about 50 miles from State College, where Penn State is based.
"I'm kind of proud of it," Peters said. "I thought it was a good message I put out. I wasn't trying to alienate anyone."
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
A pair of billboards shows continued support for the late former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. The signs are located along U.S. 322 East near Thompsontown.
The two-panel billboard touts Paterno's 409 career victories beneath a blue sign with lettering that reads "You can't cover up 61 years of success with honor."
A group called Penn Staters For Responsible Stewardship designed similar billboards placed across the state last fall, but said it wasn't behind the latest one.
The billboards take issue with investigators who determined Paterno knew about past child sex abuse by former assistant Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted and imprisoned last year. The NCAA has sanctioned the university over the sex abuse scandal, but supporters say Paterno, who was fired and died in January 2012, say he wasn't at fault.
Sandusky was convicted of dozens of counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence, acknowledging he showered with boys but insisting he didn't molest any of them.
Peters said he believes officials were merely assuming that Paterno knew about Sandusky's actions, but he doesn't believe that.
"I don't know the full story, but all I know is Joe Paterno did nothing but good at Penn State," he said. "A lot of coaches cover stuff up. He never did that."
Peters said the billboard will cost him $400 a month through the end of the 2013 football season.
"I only did this to show respect for Joe Paterno and all the good he did," he said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.