Former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky says he is innocent.
Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing eight boys in a scandal that has rocked the Pennsylvania University. In a telephone interview Monday night on NBC News' "Rock Center," Bob Costas asked Jerry Sandusky if he's a pedophile and Sandusky responded, "no."
The interview with Costas was Sandusky's first public comment on the charges. He had previously maintained his innocence through his attorney, Joe Amendola.
Sandusky, once considered veteran coach Joe Paterno's heir apparent, was arrested more than a week ago and is charged with sexually abusing eight boys, some on Penn State property, over a 15-year span.
"I am innocent of those charges," the 67-year-old Sandusky said. "... I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact."
(Watch the full interview above or on MSNBC.com)
When Sandusky was asked whether he was sexually attracted to under aged boys, he said "Sexually attracted, no. I enjoy young people, I love to be around them, but, no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
Sandusky was also asked if there was anything he had done wrong, he said, "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."
Wide receivers coach Mike McQueary told a grand jury that in March 2001 when he was a graduate assistant, he saw Sandusky sodomizing a boy about 10 years old in a shower at the Nittany Lions' practice center. McQueary did not go to police but instead told Paterno, Curley and Schultz, although it is unclear how detailed a description he gave. Schultz, in turn, notified Spanier.
Sandusky told NBC there was no sexual contact.
"We were showering and horsing around, and he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor, and we were, as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel - horseplay," he said.
Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said on the NBC broadcast, "Jerry Sandusky is a big overgrown kid... He's a jock, and for anybody who's ever played sports, you get showers after you work out."
Amendola said, "We anticipate we're going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say `This never happened. This is me. This is the allegation. It never occurred."
When pressed about how two people could claim to have witnessed Sandusky engaged in sexual contact with boys on two different occasions, Sandusky replied that "you'd have to ask" them.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported on its website late Monday that close to 10 additional suspected victims have come forward to authorities since Sandusky's arrest, according to people close to the investigation. The paper said police were working to confirm the new allegations.
When Sandusky retired in 1999, at just 55, he cited his desire to devote more time to The Second Mile, a charity he founded in 1977 to help at-risk kids. According to the grand jury report, however, Sandusky was a sexual predator who used the charity and his Penn State connections to prey on young boys.
Though he was not particularly close with Paterno, he remained a familiar sight around the Penn State football complex. He was given an office in the East Area Locker building, across the street from the football building, as part of his retirement package, and would take Second Mile kids around the football facilities.
The Sandusky interview came on the day when it was announced the president of The Second Mile had resigned. Jack Raykovitz, a practicing psychologist who had led the group for 28 years, said he hoped his resignation, accepted Sunday, would help restore faith in the group's mission. The Second Mile also announced it had hired Philadelphia's former longtime district attorney Lynne Abraham as its new general counsel.
On Tuesday afternoon, two Syracuse experts who deal with child victims talked with CNY Central's Jim Kenyon. Julie Cecile of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, says she was not surprised by anything Sandusky said in the interview with Bob Costas. She says pedofiles often "minimize" their behavior and how it "affects those children." Cecile is also not surprised that more alleged victims are coming forward. She says pedofiles often "have multiple victims" before they're caught.
First Chief Assistant District Attorney Rick Trunfio agreed that criminals will minimize their actions. He added that pedofiles often "say but I love children. Children are better off because they know me, I take care of children...we see that all the time." Trunfio said, "I thought the interview was disturbing. I thought criminal profilers would have a field day with that."
Some information used in this story is from the Associated Press.