Jerry Sandusky declared his innocence Monday night, telling Bob Costas in a telephone interview aired on NBC's Rock Center that he is not a pedophile and has no sexual attraction to young boys. Sandusky did admit to showering with some of the children that he's worked with over the years, as well as physical "horseplay," but maintains it was always "without the intent of sexual contact."
"I say that I am innocent of those charges," he said.
"Innocent? Completely innocent, and falsely accused in every aspect?" Costas asked.
"Well, I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids, I have showered after workouts," Sandusky replied. "I have hugged them and I have touched their leg without intent of sexual contact. So if you look at it that way, there are things that ... would be accurate."
Sandusky admitted that he showered with a young boy the night that Mike McQueary claims he saw Sandusky forcibly raping a child, but he denied there was any sexual activity. "I would say that that's false," he said.
As for what McQueary's motive to lie might be, Sandusky refused to speculate. "You'd have to ask him that," he said.
When Costas asked what actually happened that night, Sandusky replied: "OK, we were showering and horsing around, and he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor," he said. "And we were, as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel or horseplay."
That identity of the young boy was never discovered by the grand jury investigation, but Sandusky's attorney Joseph Amendola told Costas later in the program that he has identified that child, who apparently backs up Sandusky's version of events.
"We expect we're going to have a number of kids, now how many of those so called eight kids, we're not sure, but 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, this never occurred,'" said Amendola. "In fact, one of the toughest allegations -- the McQueary allegation -- what McQueary said he saw, we have information that that child says that never happened."
"Until now," said Costas, "we were told that alleged victim could not be identified."
"Well, by the Commonwealth [of Pennsylvania]," said Amendola.
"You have identified him?" asked Costas.
"We think we have," said Amendola.
Costas also asked Sandusky about being confronted with the mother of one of his alleged victims in 1998.
"During one of those conversations you said, 'I understand, I was wrong, I wish I could get forgiveness speaking now with a mother, I know I won't get it from you, I wish I were dead,'" Costas said. "A guy falsely accused, or a guy whose actions have been misinterpreted doesn't respond that way, does he?"
"I don't know, I didn't say to my recollection that I wish I were dead," Sandusky said. "I was hopeful that we could reconcile things."
In 2000, a janitor told his supervisor that he saw Sandusky performing oral sex on a young boy in the showers of Penn State's athletic facility, another charge that Sandusky flatly denied.
"It seems that if all of these accusations are false, you are the unluckiest and most persecuted man that any of us has ever heard about," Costas said.
"I don't know what you want me to say," Sandusky replied. "I don't think that these have been the best days of my life."
Sandusky denied that Joe Paterno, Penn State's former head coach who was fired in the wake of the grand jury presentment, ever spoke to him about the allegations. He's also disturbed by the turmoil that's surrounded his former school in the wake of his arrest.
"How would you think that I would feel about a university that I attended, about people that I worked with, about people that I care so much about, how do you think i would feel about it? I feel horrible," he said.
"Do you feel guilty?" Costas asked. "Do you feel as if its your fault?"
"No, I don't think it's my fault. I obviously played a part in this," Sandusky said.
"How would you define the part that you played?" Costas asked. "What are you willing to concede that you've done that was wrong and you wish you had not done it?"
"Well, in retrospect, I shouldn't have showered with those kids."
Near the end of the interview, Costas asked Sandusky if he was sexually attracted to young boys. Sandusky repeated the question before answering.
"Am I sexually attracted to underage boys? Sexually attracted? You know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. I ... but no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
Costas ended his interview by telling Sandusky that while he's presumed innocent in court, a lot of people have looked at the mountain of evidence working against him and have already made up their mind. "Millions of Americans who didn't know Jerry Sandusky's name until a week ago now regard you not only as a criminal, and I say this in I think a considered way, but as some sort of monster. How do you respond them?"
"I don't know what I can say, or what I could say, that would make anybody feel any different now," Sandusky said. "I would just say that as somehow people could hang on until my attorney has a chance to fight, you know, for my innocence. That's about all I could ask right now. Obviously it's a huge challenge."
Related: Jerry Sandusky fallout, replacing Joe Paterno, and Penn State's movement to support sexual abuse survivors. For more on the Nittany Lions, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries. More college football news.