Jerry Sandusky said in interview excerpts broadcast Monday that a key witness against him misinterpreted him showering with a young boy in Penn State football team facilities more than a decade ago.
Sandusky told documentary filmmaker John Ziegler, in recordings played on NBC's “Today” show, that he does not understand how Mike McQueary concluded “that sex was going on” when he witnessed Sandusky showering with a boy in 2001.
"That would have been the last thing I would have thought about," Sandusky said during what Ziegler described as 3½ hours of interviews. "I would have thought maybe fooling around or something like that."
McQueary, a graduate assistant in 2001, testified at trial that he heard “skin-on-skin smacking sound” and had no doubt he was witnessing anal sex.
In a transcript posted online, Ziegler said he asked Sandusky whether McQueary was wrong when he said they made eye contact during that incident.
"I don’t know that he’s lying," Sandusky replied. "I think that he would be uncertain about it and he may have said that I thought that I saw him, but he wouldn’t have known that. How could he have known that?"
McQueary’s father, John McQueary, declined comment, and there was no answer at McQueary’s lawyer’s office early Monday. Mike McQueary has filed a defamation and whistleblower lawsuit against Penn State over how he was treated after Sandusky’s arrest.
The boy, identified as Victim 2 in court records, was not a witness at trial. A team of civil lawyers has said they are representing Victim 2 and posted online audio recordings of voicemails purportedly from Sandusky and left for the boy.
Sandusky also told Ziegler he was not sure whether head coach Joe Paterno, who was fired after Sandusky’s November 2011 arrest, would have let him keep coaching if he suspected Sandusky was a pedophile. Sandusky was investigated by university police for a separate shower incident in 1998, but remained one of Paterno’s top assistants through 1999.
"If he absolutely thought I was, I'd say no," Sandusky said. "If he had a suspicion, I don’t know the answer to that."
When Ziegler asked Sandusky whether he would admit touching some of the boys inappropriately, Sandusky responded that he didn’t do it, according to the transcript posted on www.framingpaterno.com.
"Yeah, I hugged them," Sandusky said, according to Ziegler. "Maybe I tested boundaries. Maybe I shouldn’t have showered with them. Yeah, I tickled them. I looked at them as being probably younger than even some of them were. But I didn’t do any of these horrible acts and abuse these young people. I didn’t violate them. I didn’t harm them."
Ziegler, who is working on a defense of Paterno, said the interviews were conducted during three sessions, and told the AP on Monday that additional excerpts will be posted online over the coming days. He also has exchanged correspondence with Sandusky that he does not intend to release.
Wick Sollers, a Paterno family lawyer, said in a statement released Sunday that Sandusky had an opportunity to testify at trial but "chose not to do so."
Penn State issued a statement that said Sandusky’s latest remarks “continue to open wounds for his victims, and the victims of child sexual abuse everywhere.”
Sandusky, 69, is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence after being convicted last year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and is pursuing appeals.