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Sandusky: "I didn't do those things"


Last Updated 5:49 p.m. ET

Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky said Joe Paterno never spoke to him about any suspected misconduct with minors, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of molesting eight boys over 15 years and is free on bail while awaiting a preliminary hearing on Dec. 13 .

In today's Times, the former Penn State assistant football coach denies sexually abusing children. He insists he was a father figure to kids involved in his charity, and he accuses prosecutors of twisting that around, CBS News correspondent Dave Brody reports.

In interviews totaling four hours over two days, the former Penn State football coach sat down with Times reporter Jo Becker and discussed the charges that he sexually abused children.

"The allegations are false. I didn't do those things," he said.

Penn State's board of trustees fired Paterno on Nov. 9 because it felt the football coach didn't go far enough in alerting authorities after an assistant coach said he told Paterno he saw Sandusky assaulting a young boy in the football building showers in March 2002.

During a lengthy interview at his lawyer's home, Sandusky told the newspaper he and Paterno never spoke about the alleged 2002 incident, or a 1998 child molestation complaint investigated by the Penn State campus police.

"I never talked to him about either one," Sandusky said. "That's all I can say. I mean, I don't know." He worked for Paterno for nearly 30 years.

"He is trying to talk through the media to potential jurors," said CBS News senior legal analyst Andrew Cohen, "but remember he's also talking to prosecutors, and to plaintiffs' lawyers, who will use some of these words against him at the upcoming trials. Those folks have more ammunition today than yesterday."

Cohen said Sandusky's Times interview is "less bizarre" than his television interview three weeks ago, "but that's not exactly a goal any defendant ought to be shooting for. He's still trying to explain and justify behavior with those children that most other adults would find unsettling, even creepy."

Center of Penn State scandal, Sandusky tells his own story (NYT)
An interview with Jerry Sandusky (New York Times Video)

Attorneys for one of the alleged sex abuse victims say Sandusky's Times interview contains an "unconvincing denial and a series of bizarre explanations" for Sandusky's behavior.

In a written statement released Saturday, the attorneys for one of Sandusky's eight accusers say the former coach's comments wrongly cast Sandusky as a "victim," which further harms their client and the other alleged victims.

David Marshall, one of the attorneys, says Sandusky's interview also "goes a long way" toward corroborating the accusers' version of events because Sandusky acknowledged showering and wrestling with the boys.

Sandusky told the Times there was chaos in the house where he often hosted children from his charity called The Second Mile.

In the interview he discusses a 1989 allegation of an incident in which Sandusky was said to have hugged a young man in a shower. The investigation, Sandusky says, only took a couple of days, and university officials - including head coach Joe Paterno - never confronted him.

"I don't know that he didn't know" about the allegations, Sandusky told the Times. "I know that he didn't never said anything to me."

In 2002, an assistant coach reported seeing Sandusky sodomizing a youngster in a shower. Sandusky says he spoke to Penn State athletic director Tim Curley.

"I told him it didn't happen," Sandusky said. "In my mind, there wasn't inappropriate behavior."

Sandusky said he never sexually abused any child and that prosecutors have misunderstood his work with children.

"They've taken everything that I ever did for any young person and twisted it to say that my motives were sexual or whatever," Sandusky told the Times. "I had kid after kid after kid who might say I was a father figure. And they just twisted that all."

He is accused of mining the ranks of his Second Mile charity to find underprivileged boys to abuse. Sandusky also said that the charity never restricted his access to children until he became the subject of a criminal investigation in 2008.

He said he regularly gave money to the disadvantaged boys at his charity, opened bank accounts for them and gave them gifts that had been donated to the charity.

"I tried to reward them sometimes with a little money in hand, just so that they could see something," he said. "But more often than not, I tried to set up, maybe get them to save the money, and I put it directly into a savings account established for them."

"I never bought a computer for any kid; I had a computer given to me to give to a kid. I never bought golf clubs. People gave things because they knew there would be kids. They wanted to get rid of things."

Asked about his physical interaction with children who were not his own, Sandusky said that aspect of the relationships "just happened that way."

"I think a lot of the kids really reached out" for wrestling and hugging, he said.

"He's essentially admitting to part of the case against him - the background information about his relationship with those children, and the atmosphere in that home - and that will make it easier for prosecutors or plaintiffs' attorneys, if and when these cases go to trial," CBS News' Andrew Cohen said.

The paper said he grew most animated when talking about his relationships with children and most disconsolate when he spoke of Paterno and Penn State, and the upheaval caused by his indictment.

"I don't think it was fair," he is quoted as saying.

During the interview, Sandusky said his relationships and activities with Second Mile children did cause some strain with Paterno. He told the paper he worried that having some children with him at hotels before games or on the sideline during games, could have been regarded as a distraction by Paterno.

"I would have dreams of we being in a squad meeting and that door fly open and kids come running through chasing one another, and what was I going to do?" he said. "Because, I mean, Joe was serious about football."