Nightly News | November 15, 2011
WILLIAMS: Good evening.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: It was the moment he had chosen to break his silence. Jerry Sandusky , the former Penn State defensive coach at the center of these awful sexual abuse allegations, proclaimed his innocence to Bob Costas on last night's broadcast of "Rock Center." But along the way, he admitted to activity in his own life that most people find repugnant. His words in his voice were as hard to listen to as they were difficult to turn away from. And the interview instantly became admissible evidence in a future trial. Fair warning here, if you've been following this story, you know this is rough material, not fit for children, which, of course, goes right to the heart of these allegations. Here now, portions of what we witnessed here last night.
BOB COSTAS reporting: Mr. Sandusky , there's a 40-count indictment, the grand jury report contains specific detail, there are multiple accusers, multiple eyewitnesses to various aspects of the abuse. A reasonable person says where there's this much smoke, there must be plenty of fire. What do you say?
Mr. JERRY SANDUSKY: I say that I am innocent of those charges.
COSTAS: Innocent? Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?
Mr. SANDUSKY: Well, I could say that, you know, I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I've -- I have touched their leg without intent of sexual contact . But -- so if you look at it that way, there are things that wouldn't, you know, would be accurate.
COSTAS: Are you denying that you had any inappropriate sexual contact with any of these underage boys?
Mr. SANDUSKY: Yes, I am. Yes, I am.
COSTAS: Never touched their genitals? Never engaged in oral sex?
Mr. SANDUSKY: Right.
COSTAS: What about Mike McQueary , the grad assistant who in 2002 walked into the shower where he says, in specific detail, that you were forcibly raping a boy who appeared to be 10 or 11 years old?
Mr. SANDUSKY: I would say that that's false.
COSTAS: What would be his motive to lie?
Mr. SANDUSKY: You'd have to ask him that.
COSTAS: Are you a pedophile?
Mr. SANDUSKY: No.
COSTAS: What did happen in the shower the night that Mike McQueary happened upon you and the young boy ?
Mr. SANDUSKY: OK. We were showering and horsing around, and he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor, and we were, as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay.
COSTAS: You say you're not a pedophile.
Mr. SANDUSKY: Right.
COSTAS: But you're a man who, by his own admission, has showered with young boys , highly inappropriate, who has continually put himself in the presence of young boys , volunteer high school coach , volunteer at a small local college, even after you were largely disassociated from Penn State , multiple reports of you getting into bed with young boys who stayed at your house in a room in the basement. How do you account for these things? And if you're not a pedophile, then what are you?
Mr. SANDUSKY: I'm a very passionate person in terms of trying to make a difference in the lives of some young people . I worked very hard to try to connect with them, to make them feel good about themselves, to be something significant in their lives. Maybe this gets misinterpreted.
COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys , to underage boys?
Mr. SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?
Mr. SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted ? You know, I enjoy young people . I love to be around them. I -- but, no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys .
COSTAS: Millions of Americans who didn't know Jerry Sandusky 's name until a week ago now regard you not only as a criminal, but I say this, I think, in a considered way, but as some sort of monster. How do you respond to them?
Mr. SANDUSKY: You know, people have created this perception. They've created someone that I don't believe I am. And I don't know what I can say or what I could say that would make anybody feel any different now.
WILLIAMS: No matter how many times you hear that during the day today, you kind of feel the need to reset your own bearings as to what is normal. Bob Costas here with us in the studio again. Bob , what's the reaction been today?
COSTAS: Well, I don't think that Jerry Sandusky did himself much good last night. There's also a general reaction that, as you put it, in leading into this. On the one hand it's off putting. On the other hand , you can't turn away. It's fascinating. It's fascinating to hear someone talk in real time who's been accused of these sorts of things. And at the same time, there's another story here, and that is that this wasn't typical "Football U." It would be horrific enough that this happened at typical Football U. What gives this some elements of classic tragedy is that it's brought down or threatens to bring down a good portion of a program that in most respects stood for the right things for the better part of half a century.
WILLIAMS: And a man and others who were all a part of that imprimatur.
COSTAS: Yes. And how much they knew and when they knew it, and what little if anything they did to stop it is something we can speculate about, but we don't yet know the full answer to.
WILLIAMS: Solid piece of reporting, awful topic. Bob Costas , thanks for joining us again tonight.
COSTAS: Thank you, Brian .