CRIME

Sandusky proclaims innocence in TV interview

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NEW YORK (AP) — Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky said in an interview with NBC that he is innocent of the child sex abuse charges that have rocked the university and cost renowned head football coach Joe Paterno his job, though the former defensive coordinator acknowledged he "horsed around" and touched kids.

Sandusky proclaimed his innocence in a television interview on Monday night. (Photo: Associated Press)

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

"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."

Meanwhile, 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.

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

American football is hugely popular in the U.S. and Penn State has one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in college football, drawing more than 100,000 people to its home games. The team's success has brought in millions of dollars in television broadcast rights, merchandising and more.

The scandal has led to the departure of university President Graham Spanier and the dismissal of the legendary Paterno after law enforcement officials said they didn't do enough to stop suspected abuse when it was reported to them in 2002.

Sandusky, once considered Paterno's heir apparent, is charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span, with several of the alleged assaults occurring on Penn State property. Athletic director Tim Curley and Penn State vice president Gary Schultz are charged with perjury, and Paterno and president Graham Spanier were fired for not doing enough after Sandusky was accused of assaulting a young boy in the showers of the campus football complex in 2002.

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