On Monday evening, Jerry Sandusky broke his silence. Facing 40 counts of sexual abuse against eight boys over a 15-year span, the former Penn State defensive coach granted an exclusive interview with Bob Costas on NBC's "Rock Center." Despite conceding that he showered with these boys, Sandusky maintains his innocence.
Below is the transcript of the Sandusky-Costas interview:
Bob Costas: Mr. Sandusky, there is a 40-count indictment, the grand jury report contains specific details. There are multiple accusers, multiple eyewitnesses to various aspects of the abuse. A reasonable person says, "Where there is this much smoke, there must be plenty of fire." What do you say?
Jerry Sandusky: I say that I am innocent of those charges.
Costas: Innocent? Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?
Sandusky: Well, I could say that, you know, 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. But, um... uh ... So, if you look at it that way ... uh ... there are things that ... that ... uh ... wouldn't ... uh, you know, would be accurate.
Costas: Are you denying that you had any inappropriate sexual contact with any of these underage boys?
Sandusky: Yes, I am.
Costas: Never touched their genitals? Never engaged in oral sex?
Costas: What about Mike McQueary? The grad assistant, who in 2002 walked into the shower where he says in specific detail that you were forcibly raping a boy who appeared to be 10 or 11 years old, that his hands were up against the shower wall, and he heard rhythmic slap, slap, slapping sounds, and he described that as a rape?
Sandusky: I would say that that's false.
Costas: What would be his motive to lie?
Sandusky: You'd have to ask him that.
Costas: What did happen in the shower the night that Mike McQueary happened upon you and the young boy?
Sandusky: OK, we were showering and ... and horsing around. And he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor and um and we were, as I recall, possibly, like, snapping a towel and horseplay.
Costas: In 1998, a mother confronts you about taking a shower with her son and inappropriately touching him. Two detectives eavesdrop on her conversations with you and you admit that, maybe, your private parts touched her son. What happened there?
Sandusky: I can't exactly recall what was said there. In terms of, uh, what I did say was that if he felt that way then I was wrong.
Costas: During one of those conversations, you said, "I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness," speaking now with the mother, "I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead." A guy falsely accused, or a guy whose actions have been misinterpreted, doesn't respond that way. Does he?
Sandusky: I don't know. I didn't say, to my recollection, that "I wish I were dead." I was hopeful that we could reconcile things.
Costas: Shortly after that, in 2000, a janitor said that he saw you performing oral sex on a young boy in the showers in the Penn State locker facility. Did that happen?
Costas: How could somebody think they saw something as extreme and shocking as that when it hadn't occurred? And what would possibly be their motivation to fabricate it?
Sandusky: You'd have to ask them.
Costas: 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.
Sandusky: [Laughs] I don't know what you want me to say. I don't think that these have been the best days of my life.
During a break in Costas' telephone segment with Sandusky, the accused's lawyer, Jopseh Amendola, appeared in studio and took several questions. With Amendola remaining nearby, Costas then went back to querying Sandusky.
Costas: To your knowledge, did Joe Paterno have any information regarding objectionable activities on your part prior to that report in 2002?
Sandusky: My... I can't totally answer that question. My answer would be, "no."
Costas: Did Joe Paterno, at any time, ever speak to you directly about your behavior?
Costas: He never asked you about what you might have done?
Costas: He never asked you if needed help, if you needed counseling?
Sandusky: No, no.
Costas: Never expressed disapproval of any kind?
Costas: How do you feel about what has happened to Penn State and to Joe Paterno? And to the Penn State football program? And your part in it?
Sandusky: How would you think 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.
Costas: You feel horrible. Do you feel culpable?
Sandusky: I'm not sure what I know what you mean?
Costas: Do you feel guilty?
Costas: Do you feel as if it's your fault
Sandusky: No. I don't think it's my fault. I've obviously played a part in this.
Costas: How would you define the part you played? What are you willing to concede that you've done that was wrong and that you wish you had not done?
Sandusky: Well, in retrospect, I ... you know ... I shouldn't have showered with those kids. And, some...
Costas: That's it?
Sandusky: Yeah, that's what hits me the most.
Costas: Are you a pedophile?
Costas: Are you sexually attracted to young boys? To underage boys?
Sandusky: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?
Sandusky: Sexually attracted? You know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. I ... but, no, I am not sexually attracted to young boys.
Costas: Obviously, you're entitled to a presumption of innocence and you will receive a vigorous defense. On the other hand, there is a tremendous amount of information out there and fair-minded, common sense people have concluded that you are guilty of monstrous acts. And they are particularly unforgiving with the type of crimes that have been alleged here. And, so, millions of Americans who didn't know Jerry Sandusky's name until a week ago now regard you not only as a criminal but -- I say this I think in a considered way -- but as some sort of a monster. How do you respond to them?
Sandusky: I don't know what I can say or what I could say that would make anybody feel any different now. I would just say that if somehow people could hang on until my attorney has a chance to fight you know for my innocence. But that's about all I could ask right now and you know obviously it's a huge challenge.