Bob Costas had the first interview with former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, the man charged with 40 counts of child molestation. On NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, Costas questioned both Sandusky and his attorney on the allegations and their claims that Sandusky is being falsely accused.
We have the segment in its entirety so you can watch and judge for yourself on how Sandusky came across. Costas showed why he’s one of the best interviewers, bar none.
We’ll have reaction in the morning.
UPDATE, 8:45 a.m.: NBC News has sent the transcript of the interview and we have it posted below.
TRANSCRIPT: “ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS” BOB COSTAS, JERRY SANDUSKY AND JOE AMENDOLA
Sandusky Breaks His Silence in an Exclusive Interview
New York, NY – November 14, 2011 – In an exclusive interview with Bob Costas for NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky speaks for the first time. Sandusky spoke to Costas via phone, his attorney Joe Amendola was in studio.
BOB COSTAS: 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?
JERRY SANDUSKY: I say that I am innocent of those charges.
BOB COSTAS: Innocent? Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?
JERRY 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 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.
BOB COSTAS: Are you denying that you had any inappropriate sexual contact with any of these underage boys?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Yes, I– yes I am.
BOB COSTAS: Never touched their genitals? Never engaged in oral sex?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Right.
BOB 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 ten or 11 years old? That his hands were up against the shower wall and he heard rhythmic slap, slap, slapping sounds and he described that as a rape?
JERRY SANDUSKY: I would say that that’s false.
BOB COSTAS: What would be his motive to lie?
JERRY SANDUSKY: You’d have to ask him that.
BOB COSTAS: What did happen in the shower the night that Mike McQueary happened upon you and the young boy?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Okay, we– we were showing and– and horsing around. And he actually turned all the showers on and was– actually sliding– across the– the floor. And we were– as I recall possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay.
BOB COSTAS: In 1998, a mother confronts you about taking a shower with her son and inappropriately touching him. Two detectives eavesdrop on a conversation with you, and you admit that maybe your private parts touched her son. What happened there?
JERRY SANDUSKY: I can’t exactly recall what was said there. In terms of– what I did say was that if he felt that way, then I was wrong,
BOB COSTAS: During one of those conversations, you said, “I understand, I was wrong, I wish I could get forgiveness,” speaking now with the mother. “I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.” A guy falsely accused or a guy whose actions have been misinterpreted doesn’t respond that way, does he?
JERRY SANDUSKY: I don’t know. I didn’t say, to my recollection that I wish I were dead. I was hopeful that we could reconcile things.
BOB COSTAS: Shortly after that in 2000, a janitor said that he saw you performing oral sex on a young boy in the showers– in the Penn State locker facility. Did that happen?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No.
BOB COSTAS: How could somebody think they saw something as extreme and shocking as that when it hadn’t occurred, and what would possibly be their motivation to fabricate it?
JERRY SANDUSKY: You’d have to ask them.
BOB COSTAS: It seems that if all of these accusations are false, you are the unluckiest and most persecuted man that any of us has ever heard about.
JERRY SANDUSKY: (LAUGHS) I don’t know what you want me to say. I don’t think that these have been the best days of my life.
BOB COSTAS: You said a few days ago much more is going to come out in our defense. In broad terms, what?
JOE AMENDOLA: We expect we’re going to have a number of kids. Now how many of those so-called eight kids, we’re not sure. But we anticipate we’re going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say this never happened. This is me. This is the allegation. It never occurred. In fact, one of the toughest allegations — the McQueary violations — what McQueary said he saw, we have information that that child says that never happened. Now grown up… now the person’s in his twenties.
BOB COSTAS: Until now, we were told that that alleged victim could not be identified, you have iden–?
JOSEPH AMENDOLA: By the commonwealth.
BOB COSTAS: You have identified?
JOSEPH AMENDOLA: We think we have
BOB COSTAS: So you found him, the commonwealth has not?
JOSEPH AMENDOLA: Interesting, isn’t it?
BOB COSTAS: Would you allow your own children to be alone with your client?
JOE AMENDOLA: Absolutely. I believe in Jerry’s innocence. Quite honestly, Bob, that’s why I’m involved in the case.
BOB COSTAS: You believe in his innocence?
JOE AMENDOLA: His innocence.
BOB COSTAS: To your knowledge did Joe Paterno at any time ever speak to you directly about your behavior?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No.
BOB COSTAS: Never?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No.
BOB COSTAS: He never asked you about what you might have done? He never asked you if you needed help? If you needed counseling?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No. No.
BOB COSTAS: Never? Never expressed disapproval of any kind?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No.
BOB COSTAS: How do you feel about what has happened to Penn State to Joe Paterno, and to the Penn State football program and your part in it?
JERRY SANDUSKY: How would you think that I would feel about a university that I attended, about people that I’ve worked with, about people that I care so much about? And I mean how do you think I would feel about it? I feel horrible.
BOB COSTAS: You feel horrible. Do you feel culpable?
JERRY SANDUSKY: I’m not sure I know what you mean.
BOB COSTAS: Do you feel guilty? Do you feel as if it’s your fault?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Guilty–?
BOB COSTAS: This is your fault?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No I don’t think it’s my fault. I’ve obviously played a part in this.
BOB COSTAS: How would you define the part you played? What are you willing to concede that you’ve done that was wrong and you wish you had not done it?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Well, in retrospect, I– you know, I shouldn’t have showered with those kids. You know
BOB COSTAS: That’s it?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Well that– yeah, that’s what hits me the most.
BOB COSTAS: Are you a pedophile?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No.
BOB COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?
BOB COSTAS: Yes.
JERRY SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted, you know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But no I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.
BOB COSTAS: Obviously you’re entitled to a presumption of innocence and you’ll receive a vigorous defense. On the other hand, there is a tremendous amount of information out there and fair-minded common sense people have concluded that you are guilty of monstrous acts. And they are particularly unforgiving with the type of crimes that have been alleged here. And so 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?
JERRY SANDUSKY: And I don’t know what I can say or what I could say that would make anybody feel any different now. I would just say that if somehow people could hang out until my attorney has a chance to fight, you know, for my innocence. That’s about all I could ask right now. And you know, obviously, it’s a huge challenge.
And that is where we’ll end it. One of the more dramatic interviews I have seen and heard. Costas stepped up to the plate with the interview. Sandusky certainly did not help himself and neither did his attorney.