Jerry Sandusky breaks silence on Penn State scandal

11:00 AM, Nov 15, 2011   |    comments
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(WXIA) -- NBC's Bob Costas talked exclusively with sex abuse suspect Jerry Sandusky about the Penn State scandal Monday night on Rock Center with Brian Williams.

Costas pointedly asked Sandusky, "Are you sexually attracted to underage boys?"

In a drawn out answer, Sandusky responded, "Sexually attracted? No. I enjoy young people. I love to be around them--but not, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."

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Sandusky denied being a pedophile, but gave detailed accounts of his interactions with his young alleged victims.

When asked about an incident during which assistant coach Mike McQueary reported seeing Sandusky having sex with a young boy, McQueary said they were horsing around and they may have snapped towels at each other.

The former Penn State defensive coordinator was charged last week with 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys since 1994. Sandusky is free on $100,000 bond, and continues to maintain his innocence.

A grand jury report says Sandusky allegedly had encounters with young boys at his home, at hotels and in locker rooms and showers on the Penn State campus.

"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," Sandusky said.

When pressed by Costas about what Sandusky was willing to concede that he'd done wrong, Sandusky said, "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."

All of the alleged sex abuse victims met Sandusky through their participation in The Second Mile. Sandusky founded the charity in 1977 as a group foster home for troubled boys. It spawned into a non-profit organization that has raised millions of dollars to help young boys and girls.

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In a separate interview on CNN, Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said his client acknowledged showering with young boys. Amendola characterized the showering as something athletes might do normally and said it did not involve sexual activity or criminal acts.

"Jerry is a big overgrown kid. He's a jock," Amendola said. "The bottom line is, jocks do that. They kid around, horse around."

Amendola added: "I wouldn't do that. I'm sure you wouldn't do it. But Jerry did that."

Tuesday morning on NBC's Today, Amendola was asked by host Ann Curry if all the alleged victims listed in the indictment were lying.

"You're in journalism, isn't that a possibility? In fairness, we plan to investigate this and find out if that's a possibility. Is it possible that Jerry did all these things? Of course. If he did, they are serious types of offenses that anyone could commit upon a child, and he should be punished accordingly," Amendola said. "But what if he didn't? What if he is innocent and his life will never be the same as the lives of people at Penn State?"

Amendola went on to say that it is possible some of the alleged victims who have come forward realize there could be money from lawsuits in the case.

Legal and crisis management experts voiced surprise, even shock at the admissions.

Marci Hamilton, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York who specializes in child sex abuse issues and legislation, called the admissions "legally insane."

"He's obviously not in touch with reality," Hamilton said. "If I was his attorney, I would never allow him to do this. It's just foolishness. It's a very bad idea.

"Even when a child is just touched in passing by an adult, it can affect them," Hamilton added. "Clearly, he has no sympathy and empathy for the victims."

(NBC News and USA Today contributed to this report)

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