Penn State has rescinded its invitation to a Vietnam veteran who is linked to former defensive coordinator and convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky before Saturday’s game, the school announced.
Bruce Heim, who received a Bronze Star while in the service, was selected to participate in an honorary coin toss with other Penn State alumni.
“Bruce Heim is a former football player and graduate of West Point and recipient of the Bronze Star in Vietnam who has served our nation with distinction,” school president Eric Barron said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, his participation in Saturday’s coin toss ceremony has re-opened deep wounds in our community that do not involve his service to country, but have distracted the public from the purpose of the day. We therefore regret that we must rescind the invitation to Mr. Heim to participate in the coin toss. We hope the sole focus of the day remains honoring all the dedicated men and women who serve our nation.”
Heim served as a board member for The Second Mile, which was the charity Sandusky founded during his tenure at Penn State. The now-defunct organization served as the vehicle through which Sandusky met his eventual victims. Heim has said he saw Sandusky enter showers with minors.
There were more than 100 complaints filed within 24 hours of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s announcement that, Heim, 74, would partake in the coin toss before Saturday’s game against Army at Military Appreciation Day in Happy Valley.
In 2012, Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse, and is currently serving a 30- to 60-year sentence in prison.
Kickoff between the Nittany Lions (3–1) and the Black Knights (1–3) is set for noon ET.
- Kenny Ducey and Kayla Lombardo