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Penn State scandal: Jerry Sandusky denies child sex abuse charges

Penn State scandal: Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky gave his first interview Monday and denied he's a pedophile. Sandusky admitted to showering and touching boys.

By Ernest Scheyder and James B. KelleherReuters / November 15, 2011

In 1999, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, right, with his defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was arrested Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, on charges that he sexually abused eight boys.

AP Photo/Paul Vathis, File

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State College, Penn.

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State University assistant football coach charged with child sex abuse, said on Monday he is not a pedophile, but admitted he showered with young boys.

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In a full-court media press across two television networks, Sandusky and his attorney, Joe Amendola, said they have answers for all 40 charges that Pennsylvania prosecutors have leveled.

"I am innocent of those charges," Sandusky  told NBC's Bob Costas in a telephone interview with the television network on Monday.

The former coach and founder of The Second Mile charity for disadvantaged youth acknowledged that after workouts he has showered with boys.

"I have hugged them and I have touched their leg without intent of sexual contact," Sandusky told Costas.

He admitted, "I shouldn't have showered with those kids," and stressed, "I am not sexually attracted to young boys."

The allegations of sex crimes and their cover-up have rocked the university. The fallout ended the career of legendary head football coach Joe Paterno, who along with the university's president was fired on Nov. 9 by the board of trustees.

The New York Times reported late Monday that as many as 10 more individuals have come forward, alleging they were abused by Sandusky. The Times cites "people close to the investigation."

Sandusky, once considered a likely successor to Paterno, is accused of sexually assaulting eight boys over more than a decade. The New York Times reported late Monday that ten more suspected victims have come forward and police were working to confirm the allegations.

The 67-year-old Sandusky is just a "big overgrown kid," his lawyer told CNN in a separate interview on Monday night.

For each charge, "We have an answer," Amendola said.

He painted a sympathetic picture of his client, saying he is worried for Sandusky's health.

Amendola said he had advised Sandusky and his wife to leave State College, Pennsylvania, to relax, but Sandusky told him he would be recognizable anywhere.

In addition, the defense team is having trouble finding some of the alleged victims mentioned in a grand jury report that was released Nov. 4, Amendola said.

INFORMATION ON LOCKER-ROOM INCIDENT

Sandusky retired from Penn State in 1999. The grand jury alleged, among other charges, that Sandusky had sexually assaulted a boy in a Penn State football locker room in 2002 and university officials failed to report the incident.

Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary, who witnessed the alleged incident while a graduate assistant, is on paid administrative leave from the university.

Amendola said he believes he has identified the child involved in the alleged incident.

"What McQueary said he saw, we have information that that child says that never happened," Amendola said.

The intertwined relationship between Penn State, its football program and The Second Mile charity continues to be a focus of the developing scandal.

The charity said on Monday it has accepted the resignation of Jack Raykovitz, its chief executive for 28 years, and that it had opened an internal investigation.

According to a grand jury report, the charity learned almost a decade ago that Sandusky had showered with a young boy. Like Penn State officials, it did not inform police.

Meanwhile, a New York-based charity for disadvantaged kids -- The Fresh Air Fund -- said it was checking on whether any of its members might have spent time at the home of Sandusky.

The Big Ten athletic conference said on Monday it will remove Paterno's name from the trophy that will be given to the winner of its first-ever championship game, scheduled to be played in Indianapolis in December.

"The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. (Additional reporting by Edith Honan and Kristina Cooke; Writing by Ernest Scheyder and Ros Krasny; Editing by Jackie Frank)

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