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The former Penn State assistant football coach at the heart of a massive sex scandal said he showered with young boys and hugged them but called the allegedly criminal contact “horseplay.”
Jerry Sandusky told NBC News’ “Rock Center” on Monday night that he was not a pedophile but, in retrospect, should not have showered with the boys he’s charged with sexually assaulting.
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.”
Defense attorney Tom Harvey told the New York Daily News that Sandusky’s admissions will be costly.
“He admitted he showered with little boys, he admitted he touched little boys’ legs, he hugged little boys, he’s saying people just made all this other stuff up…He’s just given up his Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate himself. All of that can and will be used against him,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.