Jerry Sandusky's home vandalized

Outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., 6-year-old Merrick Briggs strikes a pose with a rose-decorated Joe Paterno statue.
Outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., 6-year-old Merrick Briggs strikes a pose with a rose-decorated Joe Paterno statue. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: November 13, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - After a sharp right turn off East College Avenue, drivers are treated to a sign that reads "road closed ahead."

Drive a little farther up the narrow, winding road and motorists are alerted to "Watch Children" before again being reminded the road is closed except for "local traffic."

It's a week since the news surfaced of the unfathomable sexual abuse charges against former longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Aside from a couple of rumored sightings, Sandusky has managed for the most part to lay low.

But that hasn't stopped the occasional person from driving by to see where Sandusky lives, right in front of Lemont Elementary School and a playground.

On Thursday night, next-door neighbor Paul Kletchka was dozing off in his living room when he heard a smash. It turned out someone had thrown two cinder blocks through the first-floor bedroom window at Sandusky's house. Kletchka said the police came, but no one saw the vandals, and no one was caught.

On Friday afternoon, the far-left window of the brown, brick house was covered and two trash bags shielded the view inside. The truck of a security company was parked in front of the home's two-car garage. Multiple rings of the Sanduskys' doorbell by The Inquirer seeking comment were left unanswered.

"We have two small children, and we're concerned for the safety of everyone in the neighborhood," Kletchka said. "We ask for people to give him his day in court. We understand that people are angry, and we understand why they are angry, but bringing violence to this neighborhood isn't going to help anything."

A neighbor of 10 years, Kletchka wouldn't consider himself and Sandusky friends - "just neighbors" - but when there were neighborhood functions they would all be there. Like many others who knew the man, Kletchka said he was shocked when he read the 23-page grand jury report.

The only time Kletchka said he recalls seeing children at Sandusky's house was on football weekends.

"We just always figured that, you know, there was a group of kids from the Second Mile that were going to the game, and they'd be playing football over there and playing football after the game, and everybody would leave and that was that," Kletchka said.

"There would be kids and adults and their friends would be there, too. It was a party atmosphere."

Kletchka said he does not consider Sandusky a threat to his family but is concerned about his presence resulting in violence in the neighborhood, as was displayed Thursday night.

About a 10-minute drive away from the Sandusky residence, the scene was far different. Camera crews and photographers continued to be a mainstay across the street from Joe Paterno's home. In his second full day away from football, Paterno was again greeted with supporters bringing flowers and visits from former players, including O.J. McDuffie, who played wide receiver for the Nittany Lions from 1988 to 1992.

"He seemed pretty good," McDuffie said after emerging from the house. "Right now it is what it is with him and the situation. He's, obviously, very remorseful for a lot of the things that have happened. But we didn't really talk much about that. We just talked about old times here. He asked me how my mom was. I played here almost 20 years ago, and he still remembers things like that."

Friday evening, two students raked the leaves on Paterno's lawn. Afterward, the former coaching legend emerged at the doorway with his wife Sue to talk to them and another man and woman who had offered support.


Contact staff writer Jake Kaplan at jake.kaplan1@gmail.com.

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