Penn State: Sandusky Interview Continues to Open Wounds

Mar 25, 2013

Penn State says Jerry Sandusky's assertion that a key witness misinterpreted his showering with a young boy continues to "open wounds" for his victims.

Excerpts of Sandusky's interview with a documentary filmmaker were broadcast Monday on NBC's "Today" show. The former Penn State assistant football coach says he doesn't understand how Mike McQueary concluded "sex was going on" when he witnessed the shower incident in 2001.

Sandusky is serving a 30-to-60-year prison sentence for child sexual abuse and admits he may have "tested boundaries" but maintains he's innocent. He says he's not sure head coach Joe Paterno would have kept him on as an assistant had Paterno suspected Sandusky of being a pedophile.

The interviews aired on the "Today" show were excerpts of what is believed to be three-and-a-half hours of conversations. They were recorded phone calls, since inmate visits are not allowed to be recorded in any way.

State Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sue McNaughton said it’s common for inmates to give these kinds of over-the-phone interviews and that all inmates can have access to the phone system.

"What happens is an individual will write to an inmate and say, 'Put me on your telephone list,'" McNaughton said. "The inmate then, it’s up to the inmate to decide: Do I want to put this person on my telephone list or not? They update the listing with the institution; the person’s information is added into the system, and then the inmate can call that person over the phone."

Calls can be outgoing only.

McNaughton said Sandusky would not have been able to receive money for the interviews.

"The inmate would use money on their account to pay," McNaughton said. "They can purchase pre-paid debit cards through the inmate commissaries and then use that money to pay for the phone call."

Inmates are allowed to receive money from family members, but McNaughton couldn’t say whether her agency has seen any unusual spikes in contributions to Sandusky’s account.

McNaughton said inmates’ telephone lists are only monitored to make sure the inmates are not contacting victims of the crime. The Department of Corrections isn’t monitoring lists to see if inmates are setting up interviews with reporters.

Beyond Penn State's statement on the interview, lawyers for one of Sandusky's victims said they've heard enough from Sandusky. They said they're focused on healing and holding Penn State accountable for its role in the scandal.