Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky spoke out Monday for the first time since he was charged with sexually abusing eight boys, telling NBC News, "I am innocent of those charges."
Sandusky admitted to Bob Costas in a "Rock Center" phone interview that he had "horsed around" with boys in locker room showers, but insisted he had not sexually assaulted any of them.
"I could say I have done some of those things," he said. "I have horsed around with kids…. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact."
He denied being a pedophile, but added, "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."
Sandusky, who is free on $100,000 unsecured bail, was charged Nov. 5 with 40 counts of sexually abusing children.
The charges were filed just as a grand jury released its report that, between 1994 and 2009, Sandusky had sexual contact with boys in Penn State locker rooms, in his home and in hotels.
The grand jury found that a Penn State janitor witnessed Sandusky in a sex act with a boy in 2000, and graduate student Mike McQueary saw Sandusky raping a child in 2002.
Neither allegations resulted in police action, despite McQueary's alerting Penn State head coach Joe Paterno that Sandusky had done something improper with a boy, the grand jury reported.
On CNN on Monday, Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola described his client as "a big, overgrown kid" whose locker room antics were what "jocks" do — "They horse around."
Amendola said the most serious charges are based on what two witnesses say Sandusky did to two boys, but the boys have not been identified.
"They have thrown everything they can throw up against the wall," he said. "And they're saying, [out of] all these accusations, some of them have to be true. But when you take it apart, they don't even have victims in several of their cases."
McQueary on Monday was quoted by NBC as saying he did stop Sandusky's alleged locker room assault in 2002.
NBC said McQueary, who played for the Nittany Lions from 1994-97, sent emails to his former Penn State teammates. "I did the right thing…you guys know me…" he reportedly said. "... the truth is not out there fully... I didn't just turn and run... I made sure it stopped..."
Paterno was fired Wednesday by the Penn State board of trustees. McQueary, who became an assistant coach in 2004, was placed on administrative leave on Friday.
Sandusky had assistant coaching duties at Penn State from 1969 to 1999. In 1977, he founded The Second Mile as a group foster home for boys. It later was expanded to serve girls, too.
According to NBC, in a 1987 interview with Sandusky, he explained why he started the charity.
"I enjoy being around children," he said. "I enjoy their enthusiasm. I just have a good time with them."