Jerry Sandusky's Interview: 'Punch in the Stomach' to Victims

PHOTO: Gerald Sandusky
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Accused child sex offender Jerry Sandusky proclaimed his innocence in his first extensive on-camera interview this weekend, sparking outrage from alleged victims and leaving many wondering why he is making himself so public.

"The way he helps himself is by communicating in the way that predatory sex offenders relate their crimes, through cognitive distortion. A way a defender relates about his actions to another that sounds convincing but denies, justifies, rationalizes and minimalizes in such a way to say, 'nothing to see here, move on,'" said Dr. Michael Welner, an ABC News consultant and a forensic psychiatrist.

Sandusky, who was an assistant to college football coaching icon Joe Paterno for 46 years, defended himself against sexual abuse allegations in a New York Times interview.

"These allegations are false, I didn't do those things," Sandusky told the Times. "I'm not the monster everyone made me out to be. I didn't engage in sexual acts."

Read the grand jury presentment on the Penn State sex scandal.

Sandusky, who also ran a charity for disadvantaged youth called Second Mile, has been charged with molesting eight boys over the course of 15 years. He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 13.

Jo Becker, the New York Times reporter who interviewed Sandusky said "he made admissions that prosecutors will I'm sure pay some attention to."

Lawyers for one of the alleged victims said the former Penn State assistant coach's interview with the Times goes "a long way toward corroborating the victims' accounts and further expanding the web of liability" in the sexual abuse scandal.

"He admits he 'wrestled' and showered alone with boys, gave them gifts and money, and travelled with them. Surprisingly, Sandusky's interview also revealed that to this day, Penn State has not taken away Sandusky's keys to the Football locker room where so much of the abuse occurred," the statement read.

Welner said he finds the evidence against Sandusky compelling.

"They had a discussion in this interview about barriers. There are no barriers. Sexual assault is a process, it's the end point of a process of grooming. It didn't just happen, he orchestrated it, and yet to see that interview, you would think that it just happened, and it's up to you as a jury or audience to see whether it's illegal or not," said Welner.

Interview Sparks Outrage From Victims

The attorney for one alleged victim calling the interview "a punch in the stomach."

The attorney for another victim called the interview "disturbing."

"Once again, Jerry Sandusky has chosen to provide the national media with an entirely unconvincing denial and a series of bizarre explanations," said Andrew Shubin, a lawyer for one of the alleged victims in the case.

"If he had any compassion for his victims or our community, he would immediately accept responsibility for his behavior, express remorse for the pain he has caused, and spare the victims, their families, and our community further trauma," Shubin said.

Sandusky claimed that some victims were "drawn into this" and talks about the "positive" things he did for them.

"This type of delusional rationalization is classic in these kinds of cases. Pedophiles often horribly mischaracterize the abuse they perpetrate as something that their victims sought or benefitted from," Shubin said.

Sandusky 'Enjoys Spending Time With Young People'

In the Times interview, Sandusky discussed the question he answered in a phone interview with NBC's Bob Costas about whether he was sexually attracted to underage boys.

"I was sitting there like, 'what in the world is this question?' am I going to be, if I say, 'no I'm not attracted to boys,' that's not the truth because I'm attracted to young people -- boys, girls," he said.

This time, his attorney, who was sitting off-camera, had to clarify Sandusky's statement: "Yeah but not sexually, you're attracted to them as in you like spending time with them," Joseph Amandola said.

"Right, I enjoy, that's what I'm trying to clarify, I enjoy spending time with young people. I enjoy spending time with people. I mean, my two favorite groups are the elderly and the young," he said. "The young because they don't think about what they say and the old because they don't care, you know?"

While Sandusky maintains he did nothing illegal, one particular comment suggests he has resigned to a possible jail sentence: "I miss coaching, I miss Second Mile, I miss Second Mile kids, I miss having relationships with all kinds of people, I miss my own grandkids," he said.

Welner does not think Sandusky should be out on bail, calling him a "public health menace."

"I think he should be quarantined?He was recruiting, as an ambassador for Penn State all over the United States and they had no accounting for the nature of his interactions with young people, so anywhere he's been has to be investigated and scrutinized and if he's out, no one can account for how he relates to young people."

At least one case linked to Sandusky's recruitment is currently being investigated in San Antonio, Tex.

Beyond Penn State

The scandal created ripples beyond Penn State, because of the damage to the image of Paterno, who had a reputation for focusing as much on the character of his players as on winning -- and on being successful in both areas.

But Paterno was fired amid questions about how much he knew about the allegations against his longtime assistant, and how much or how little he did about them.

Sandusky said Paterno never talked to him about any alleged incidents of abuse with minors.

"I don't know that he didn't know. I know that he never said anything to me, I know that," Sandusky told the Times.

"I never talked to him about either one," Sandusky told the newspaper.

On Paterno's knowledge, Sandusky told the Times, "He's (Paterno) the only one who knows whether anybody ever said anything to him."

Paterno, who chached the Nittany Lions for 46 years, was fired by the Penn State trustees on Nov. 9, despite his own statement earlier that he would retire at the end of the current season.

When Sandusky was first confronted about the incident in which Assistant Coach Mike McQueary claimed to have seen him raping a boy in the team showers he said, "that it didn't happen, in my mind there wasn't inappropriate behavior."

McQueary said he told Paterno. Paterno told his superior, who alerted then Penn State President Graham Spanier, but no one at the school called police, according to a grand jury report.

Last month, McQueary's account of the incident came under question.

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