(NEW YORK) — In his first jailhouse interview since he was convicted on 45 counts of sexually abusing children, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky insisted that the testimony of key witness Mike McQueary was inaccurate.
Sandusky made the comments as part of a three-hour interview with documentary filmmaker John Zieglar, who is making a film to try and clear the name of Penn State’s former head football coach, Joe Paterno, who was implicated in the Sandusky scandal.
In an interview on NBC’s The Today Show Monday morning, Ziegler played a recording of the interviews he conducted with Sandusky behind bars in Pennsylvania.
Sandusky questioned the tesitmony of McQueary, the former Penn State assistant coach who testified he saw Sandusky standing “extremely” close to a young boy in the football locker room showers, heard “rhythmic slapping sounds” and believed he was witnessing sexual behavior.
“I don’t understand how anybody would have walked into that locker room, from where he was, and heard sounds associated that was sex going on,” Sandusky said in the taped interview.
“I mean that would have been the last thing I would have thought about. I would have thought maybe fooling around or something like that,” he said, laughing.
Ziegler explained that the question of what McQueary actually saw in the locker room shower is central to clearing the name of Paterno.
According to the grand jury indicment of Sandusky and an independent investigation into the scandal by former FBI director Louis Freeh, McQueary went to Paterno the morning after the shower incident and told the head coach what he had seen. In subsequent conversations between Paterno, then-athletic director Tim Curley, and then-vice president Gary Schultz, the men decided not to report Sandusky to the police.
Ziegler is using his documentary, along with a website called “The Framing of Joe Paterno,” to try and prove that McQueary never told Paterno that he witnessed child rape and that Paterno did not willfully ignore the accusation to protect his football program, as the Freeh report charges.
In the interview he conducted with Sandusky, Zieglar asked whether Paterno would have allowed Sandusky to continue coaching at Penn State if he had suspected Sandusky of pedophilia.
“If he absolutely thought I was (a pedophile) I’d say no,” Sandusky said. “If he had a suspicion, I don’t know the answer to that.”
The Paterno family condemned the documentary and the jailhouse interview, calling it “misguided and inappropriate.”
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