Jerry Sandusky has broken his silence.
There has been no shortage of media coverage of the child sex scandal that has taken over Penn State University, and this has resulted in no shortage of quotes. Despite all this, Sandusky, the man at the center of it all, had been staying under the radar.
No longer. Sandusky granted an exclusive phone interview to NBC News, giving Bob Costas the chance to put questions to him. The interview aired on Rock Center on Monday night.
Among the highlights: an admission from Sandusky that he showered with young boys but also a claim that he is innocent of sexual abuse charges.
The allegations against Sandusky date back to the mid 1990s and are detailed in a grand jury report that was released a little more than a week ago. Though the report alleges Sandusky is guilty of numerous sexual encounters, he denies that any such activity took place.
"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," he said.
Concerning the 2002 incident in which Nittany Lions assistant allegedly saw Sandusky raping a young boy in the Penn State locker room showers, Sandusky denied that the incident took place.
"I would say that that's false," he said.
When asked what McQueary's motive to lie would have been, Sandusky said, "You'd have to ask him that."
A little later on in the interview, Costas asked Sandusky to define the part he played in the Penn State scandal. Specifically, if he is innocent of the charges, what exactly did he do that he thinks was wrong?
Sandusky's response: "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."
Shortly after that, Costas dropped arguably the most important question of the interview: Are you sexually attracted to underage boys?
In forming his answer, Sandusky clearly had trouble finding the words.
"Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?" said Sandusky. "Sexually attracted...no I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. I...but no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
Sandusky concluded the interview by urging people to "hang on" and wait until after his case is decided before passing judgment.
If we're speaking honestly and openly about this interview, I think all of us will agree that it was a complete disaster for Sandusky from a PR perspective. Given the crimes he has been accused of, he probably shouldn't have opened his mouth in the first place. Instead, he decided to go ahead with the interview and promptly dug himself in an even deeper hole.
The answers Sandusky gave don't make him sound innocent. The worst of the bunch was his response to Costas' question about being sexually attracted to young boys. Sandusky sounded like he didn't know what to say, and the answer he gave comes off as a blatant lie.
Does this interview alone make Sandusky guilty?
In the eyes of the law, no. At least, not yet.
As far as the public is concerned, well, Sandusky was guilty in their eyes before this interview aired. The interview will not change that.