STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Nine months after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys – a scandal that destroyed the once unimpeachable reputation of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno – Jerry Sandusky is again claiming he did nothing wrong.
Sandusky has rarely spoken about the allegations, although he has consistently maintained his innocence since his November 2011 arrest. The latest statements came Monday in portions of a taped interview aired on NBC’s “Today” and transcripts posted on the web site of a filmmaker who aims to clear Paterno’s name.
In the interviews, the former Penn State assistant coach denied having inappropriate contact with the boys, although he acknowledged he may have “tested boundaries.”
“Yeah, I hugged them,” Sandusky said, according to transcripts posted on the filmmaker’s site. “Maybe I tested boundaries. Maybe I shouldn’t have showered with them. Yeah, I tickled them.
“I looked at them as being probably younger than even some of them were. But I didn’t do any of these horrible acts and abuse these young people. I didn’t violate them. I didn’t harm them.”
Although Sandusky’s comments aired and posted Monday were given to a man endeavoring to clear Paterno’s name, the late coach’s family has distanced themselves from the statements.
Wick Sollers, a Paterno family lawyer, said in a statement that Sandusky’s statements are “transparently self-serving and yet another insult to the victims.”
Sandusky told filmmaker John Ziegler he was not sure whether Paterno, who was fired after Sandusky’s arrest, would have let him keep coaching if he suspected Sandusky was a pedophile. Sandusky was investigated by university police after showering with a boy on campus in 1998, but remained one of Paterno’s top assistants through 1999.
“If he absolutely thought I was, I’d say no,” Sandusky said. “If he had a suspicion, I don’t know the answer to that.”
Not long after his arrest, Sandusky also denied wrongdoing in an interview on NBC’s “Rock Center.” On the eve of his sentencing in October, Sandusky told a Penn State radio station he was the victim of a “well-orchestrated effort” by his accusers, the media, Penn State, plaintiffs’ attorneys and others.
Penn State issued a statement that said Sandusky’s latest remarks “continue to open wounds for his victims, and the victims of child sexual abuse everywhere.”
Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence after being convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He is pursuing appeals.