STATE COLLEGE, PENNSYLVANIA (CNN)—Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky insisted in an interview Monday night he is "innocent" of charges that he sexually abused young boys, denying to NBC's Bob Costas that he's a pedophile.
In a telephone interview with NBC's "Rock Center With Brian Williams," Sandusky admitted that some details in the graphic 23-page grand jury report released earlier this month are correct.
Still, Sandusky claimed he has been falsely accused of crimes. When pressed, the 67-year-old Sandusky said the only thing he did wrong was having "showered with those kids."
The stunning allegations led to the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno and the departure of other officials because they didn't promptly contact police after accusations surfaced.
The national spectacle has outraged and embarrassed Penn State students and alumni. An alumni-led effort has raised $372,000 for abuse victims in less than a week, a Twitter message said on Tuesday.
Investigations have been launched by the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, the U.S. Department of Education, Penn State, and Second Mile, the charity founded by Sandusky.
Costas asked probing questions in his interview : "Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?"
Sandusky repeated the question, paused briefly, repeated the question again and responded. "Am I sexually attracted to underage boys? Sexually attracted? You know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. Um, I, I, but no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys."
Costas told "The Dan Patrick Show" he originally thought he was going to interview Sandusky's lawyer Joe Amendola, but the attorney offered an interview with the accused coach. Costas said there were no ground rules for the interview, taped a few hours before it was aired.
"Literally 10, 15 minutes before we were going to sit down with Amendola, he, Amendola, said to me, 'What if I can get Sandusky on the phone, how would you feel about that?' And I said, 'Let's try and do it.' And so we just pivoted and made it Sandusky," Costas said.
Costas spoke briefly with Amendola, who sat with Costas during the phone interview.
Prosecutors: Coach went from mentor to predator
Asked if Paterno had ever spoken to him about his behavior or expressed disapproval, Sandusky said simply, "No."
And asked if he felt guilty over the spreading fallout that has affected the university and prominent university figures including the fired Paterno, Sandusky responded, "I don't think it was my fault. I obviously played a part in this. ... I shouldn't have showered with those kids. That's what hits me the most."
Amendola said Monday night that showering with children does not equate automatically to sexual assault.
"Jerry Sandusky is a big, overgrown kid. He's a jock," Amendola told CNN's Jason Carroll. "The bottom line is jocks do that -- they kid around, they horse around."
But CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin said she thinks a crime has already been committed, based on Sandusky's own admissions.
"It's such a classic fact pattern for him to admit that he showered with these children and horsed around and confessed to touching them," she said on CNN's "AC360." "In my mind, that's already misdemeanor child sex abuse. So I disagree when the attorney says nothing criminal happened here. That, in and of itself, is criminal. ... I'm flabbergasted."