Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, breaking his silence for the first time since explosive allegations of child molestation were lodged against him, said he is not a pedophile. He said all his contact with the boys in question amounted to nothing more than innocent horseplay, although he did admit he crossed a line when he disrobed and bathed with some of the youngsters.
But when Bob Costas pressed Sandusky in an interviewing airing tonight on NBC News' "Rock Center," Sandusky conceded: "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."
The interview suggests that Sandusky plans to fight the charges contained in the 40-count indictment filed against him, alleging that he sexually abused eight boys over a 15-year-period. The charges have rocked the sports world, resulting in the sidelining or outright firing of several top officials at Penn State for allegedly covering up the crimes or not doing enough to protect children. Among them: the school president, and legendary football coach Joe Paterno.
PHOTOS: Penn State scandal
The fallout from the scandal is also engulfing the Second Mile, a children's charity Sandusky started in 1977. A grand jury report accuses Sandusky of using the charity to find his victims. The charity, facing criticism that it, too, covered up for Sandusky, announced today that it has replaced its chief executive and counsel and has launched an internal investigation into charity actions.
Costas managed to nab a telephone interview with Sandusky. During the interview, Sandusky said he is not guilty.
"I say that I am innocent of those charges," Sandusky told Costas. When asked by Costas, "Are you a pedophile?" Sandusky responded, "No."
At one point, Costas asks him how such charges could have come about. "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.
Documents: Grand jury report
Photos: Penn State rocked by sex abuse allegations
Full coverage: The Jerry Sandusky-Penn State scandal
-- Rene Lynch
Photo: Jerry Sandusky being taken into custody. Credit: Reuters
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