STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - The former Penn State assistant football coach at the heart of a massive child sex-abuse scandal said he showered with young boys and hugged them but called the allegedly criminal contact “horseplay.”
In an interview with Bob Costas, Sandusky, once considered the heir apparent to coaching legend Joe Paterno, proclaimed his innocence in the face of a series of startling allegations detailed in a grand jury report issued last week.
“I am innocent of those charges,” 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.”
Sandusky is accused of sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year span, with some of the alleged crimes happening at Penn State, where he had access to campus as an emeritus professor following his 1999 retirement as Paterno’s top defensive assistant.
Asked whether he was sexually attracted to underage 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.”
Asked if there was anything he had done wrong, Sandusky said, “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.”
The scandal has hit hard the community called Happy Valley, where “success with honor” is the motto. Paterno and University President Graham Spanier have lost their jobs and Athletic Director Tim Curley and senior vice president Gary Schultz face perjury charges.
“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,’” Amendola said on the NBC broadcast.
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.
A spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly declined to comment on the interview, citing the active investigation.
Amendola earlier told CNN that his client was just behaving like “a jock.”