NEW YORK — Jerry Sandusky said in an interview with NBC on Monday that he is innocent of the child sex abuse charges that have rocked Penn State and cost coach Joe Paterno his job, though the former defensive coordinator acknowledged he “horsed around” and touched children.
The New York Times reported Monday night that close to 10 additional suspected victims have come forward to authorities since Sandusky’s arrest Nov. 5, according to people close to the investigation. The police are working to confirm the new allegations.
In a telephone interview that aired Monday night on NBC’s Rock Center, Sandusky responded “no” when Bob Costas asked whether he was a pedophile.
“I am innocent of those charges,” the 67-year-old said.
“I could say that I have done some of those things,” he said of the accusations against him. “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, once Paterno’s heir apparent, is charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span, with several of the alleged assaults occurring on Penn State property. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz are charged with perjury, and Paterno and President Graham Spanier were fired for not doing enough after Sandusky was accused of assaulting a young boy in the showers of the football complex in 2002.
The interview was Sandusky’s first public comment on the charges. A spokesman for Pennsylvania’s attorney general declined to comment on the interview, citing the active investigation.
Asked whether there was anything he did wrong, Sandusky said, “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.”
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 children. According to a grand jury report, Sandusky was a sexual predator who used the charity and his Penn State connections to prey on young boys.
The charity’s president resigned Monday. Jack Raykovitz, a psychologist who had led the group for 28 years, said he hoped his departure would help restore faith in the group’s mission. The Second Mile also announced it had hired Philadelphia’s longtime district attorney as its new general counsel.