If the charges against Jerry Sandusky are true, the figure at the center of the Penn State sex abuse scandal has "all the hallmarks" and behavior patterns of a child molester, according to retired FBI profiler and sex crimes expert Jim Clemente.
Clemente, who now writes for the CBS show "Criminal Minds," listened to a portion of an interview Sandusky granted to Bob Costas on the NBC News broadcast "Rock Center."
In it, Costas asked Sandusky point blank, "Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to under-aged boys?"
"Am I sexually attracted to under-aged boys?" Sandusky repeated.
"Yes," Costas said.
"Sexually attracted?" Sandusky repeated again. "No. I enjoy young people. I love to be around them."
Sandusky went on to say he isn't sexually attracted to young boys.
But Clemente told "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Russ Mitchell "the first thing" Sandusky's answers tell him is Sandusky is "trying to avoid the question. He's repeating the question to get time to think of an appropriate answer that he thinks will pass muster. He's also showing that, basically, he is deceiving when he answers that question, because he can't just spontaneously answer it. He then also goes on to change it from under-aged boys to young people. He's trying to distance himself from actually the things that he did and that are described in the allegations."
Clemente says something else that stood out to him from the interview involved what Sandusky said about the portion of the grand jury report dealing with then-graduate assistant Mike McCreary saying he'd discovered Sandusky taking a shower with a young boy in a Penn State locker room.
"When he was asked about the McCreary allegations, he basically blames the kid," Clemente said. "He basically says, 'We were in the shower and the kid turned on all of the showers and he was sliding around,' blaming a child for acting like a child. And then he goes on to say that, 'We were, as I recall, possibly snapping towels.' He can't even buy into his own lies. He's deceiving people. He's coming up with a story that he hopes he can prove or somebody can't disprove and he's not even buying into it himself. It's just very disturbing."
When the content of the grand jury report is combined with the interview and what possible Sandusky victims are saying, Sandusky "certainly does" have the characteristics of a child sex offender, Clemente says.
"First of all," Clemente explained, "these allegations are extremely strong. In most cases like this, it's just the children's word against the offender or the alleged offender. In this case, there are a number of cross-corroborations between the children. There's corroborations from adult witnesses who saw various acts over time, over a long period of time. And those are some of the major characteristics, the hallmarks of a child preferential sex offender, the first one being a long-term, persistent pattern of behavior.
"And certainly, the allegations cross a great span of time in this case. He has specific sexual interests. He is interested in, apparently, preadolescent boys. He's got well-developed techniques to get access to these kids, and he's exhibiting fantasy and desire-driven behavior. So he has all of the hallmarks of a sex preferential child sex offender."
What signs can parents look for if they are worried about a relationship their child may be having with an adult?
"What they should look for is people who want to spend more time with their children outside of the program. Basically, if they're seeing an adult who is asking the child on trips, asking to have them come over for overnight stays, even spending too much time with the child.
"Adults typically get tired of being around young children. I mean, children are sort of like puppies. They're cute and they're playful, but after awhile, they start chewing on things, they start getting in your way, and so the average adult will want to distance himself from a child that isn't their own child. In this case, you know, this guy is described as just a big kid as, you know, loving children and so forth. And those kinds of things should be, you know, sort of red flags for parents."