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Sandusky claims innocence, but admits to showers

Updated 11:13 PM EST

NEW YORK - A former Penn State football assistant coach charged with sexually abusing eight boys in a scandal that has rocked the university said Monday that there was no abuse and that any activities in a campus shower with a boy were just horseplay, not molestation.

In a telephone interview Monday night on NBC News' "Rock Center," Bob Costas asked Jerry Sandusky if he's a pedophile and Sandusky responded, "No."

Sandusky, once considered veteran coach Joe Paterno's heir apparent, was arrested more than a week ago and is charged with sexually abusing eight boys, some on Penn State property, over a 15-year span.

"I am innocent of those charges," the 67-year-old Sandusky said. "... I could say that 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."

Asked whether he was sexually attracted to underaged boys, he said "Sexually attracted, no. I enjoy young people, I love to be around them, but, no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."

Asked if there was anything he had done wrong, Sandusky said, "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."

The interview with Costas was Sandusky's first public comment on the charges. He had previously maintained his innocence through his attorney, Joe Amendola.

A spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly declined to comment on the interview, citing the active investigation.

Sandusky is at the center of a controversy that has rocked not only the Penn State football program, but the school and the state of Pennsylvania. He is charged with 40 counts related to the sexual abuse of young boys and a grand jury report documents alleged incidents of rape as well as inappropriate touching of boys he met through his charity for troubled adolescents, Second Mile.

In an interview that aired on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" program Monday night, Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, said he believes in his client's innocence and calls him an "overgrown kid."

"He's a jock. For anybody who's ever played sports, you get showers after you work out. ,...but the bottom line is jocks do that, They kid around, they horse around. What Jerry said in regards to the one allegation [to what] the grad student [Mike McQueary] saw, [according to Sandusky,] "We were horsing around, we weren't engaged in sexual activity."

Amendola added: "That's a far different thing...than saying that he committed these other acts, which the prosecution alleged he did. What's going to come out in this case is that Jerry did get showers with kids. What I am being told happened is that Jerry was in the shower with this kid, the kid was messing around, having a good time. He had McQuary come in and see that, he felt uncomfortable, which is exactly what [then-Penn State athletic director Tim] Curley and [then-Penn State senior vice president Gary] Schultz are saying, that it was reported by them by McQueary, that he saw Sandusky in a shower with a kid and he felt uncomfortable."

He also said that Sandusky is "destroyed. People are throwing bricks through his windows at home. I have calls coming in from the police from the township where he lives saying, 'How do we protect him and his wife?' I suggested that they get away for a while but his response was, 'Where do I go? I've been all over the news. No matter where I go, [people] are going to recognize me.' He is distraught, he is absolutely devastated by what's happened to [now-former Penn State coach] Joe Paterno."

Complete coverage: The Penn State Scandal

The New York Times reported on its website late Monday that close to 10 additional suspected victims have come forward to authorities since Sandusky's arrest, according to people close to the investigation. The paper said police were working to confirm the new allegations.

A spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly declined to comment on the interview, citing the active investigation.

Amendola accused the attorney general's office of having "thrown everything they can throw up against the wall." He said some of the allegations, such as putting a hand on a boy's knee, do not constitute criminal conduct and other cases include no direct complaint by the boy.

"They have other people who are saying they saw something, but they don't have actual people saying, `This is what Jerry did to me," Amendola said. "We're working to find those people, and when the time comes, and if we are able to do that, we think this whole case will change dramatically."

Earlier Monday, CBS News investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reported that at least two of Sandusky's alleged victims were believed to be preparing civil lawsuits.

The suits being prepared are against Penn State University and possibly against The Second Mile, the charity for troubled kids which Sandusky founded in 1977.

Eight victims of abuse were listed in the grand jury presentment which documented allegations against the former defensive coach. Prosecutors charge Sandusky's repeated abuse of young boys dates back 15 years, and that he met his victims via The Second Mile.

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Three separate, far-reaching investigations are underway into the child abuse scandal - and a university response has already cost four top officials their jobs, including the school's legendary coach Joe Paterno.

On CBS' "The Early Show" this morning, Penn State president Rodney Erickson said other victims may come forward. "That's entirely possible. I'm not aware of any at this point but certainly possible," he said.

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Another revelation Monday was that the judge who set a reduced bail for Sandusky after he was arrested earlier this month was a volunteer and donor for The Second Mile.

District Judge Leslie Dutchcot, who released Sandusky on $100,000 bail - far less than the $500,000 requested by prosecutors - names The Second Mile as one of the organizations for which she volunteers, according to her attorney profile on the website of her firm, Goodall & Yurchak.

The link was first reported by the website

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