Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, embroiled in a child sex abuse scandal, attempts to clarify in a new interview how he feels about his relationships with young people.
"If I say, 'No, I'm not attracted to young boys,' that's not the truth," Sandusky said in an extensive interview with The New York Times in a story published Saturday. "Because I'm attracted to young people -- boys, girls -- I ..." His lawyer, who was present at the interview, spoke up at that point to note that Sandusky is "not sexually" attracted to them.
"Right. I enjoy, that's what I was trying to say, I enjoy spending time with young people. I enjoy spending time with people," Sandusky continued. "I mean my two favorite groups are the elderly and the young."
A grand jury report, made public last month, detailed 40 charges against Sandusky in a child sex abuse scandal involving at least eight alleged victims and spanning 15 years.
In a recent interview with NBC's Bob Costas, Sandusky was asked directly: "Are you sexually attracted to underage boys?"
Sandusky repeated the question, paused, and responded, "No. I enjoy young people."
Sandusky, meanwhile, has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation -- saying he only "horsed around" with the disadvantaged boys in his care -- and is currently free on $100,000 bail.
In the Times interview, the former defensive coordinator again stressed that he and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno never discussed the allegations of sexual misconduct.
"I don't know that he didn't know," he told the newspaper. "I know that he never said anything to me. I know that."
The Board of Trustees removed Paterno and President Graham Spanier on November 9, amid the allegations that also implicated high-level university officials.
Athletic Director Tim Curley, 57, and the school's vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz, 62, have since been charged in the scandal. Each faces one count of felony perjury and one count of failure to report abuse allegations.
Paterno, 84, has not been charged in the investigation, but has received criticism for not alerting authorities to the alleged misconduct. He has said he did his duty in referring the allegations to his superior; according to the grand jury report, Paterno called Curley to report allegations of Sandusky "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."
Spanier also was informed of "a report of an incident involving Sandusky and a child in the showers on campus."
The Times' with Sandusky honed in on two separate allegations of misconduct in 1998 and 2002.
When Sandusky retired in December 1999, an investigation of his alleged actions a year before had never been made public, but were later detailed in the grand jury's report.
A mother had come forward, saying the coach had showered with her son and hugged her boy, naked from behind. Two campus police detectives eavesdropped on conversations in May 1998 when the mother confronted Sandusky. Police later monitored a second conversation that month, in which the mother told Sandusky to stay away from her son.
"I understand. I was wrong," Sandusky said, according to the grand jury report. "I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead."
Four years later, the report said, graduate assistant Mike McQueary claimed to have seen Sandusky sodomizing a boy in a locker room shower.
Sandusky told The New York Times that Curley, Penn State's athletic director at the time, confronted him about the alleged misconduct.
Sandusky Gives First Interview Since Indictment on Sex Abuse Charges
In a nearly four-hour interview with Jo Becker of The New York Times which took place over two days this week, the former Penn State assistant football coach insisted he had never sexually abused any child.
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.