NEW YORK, N.Y. - Former Penn State defensive co-ordinator Jerry Sandusky said Joe Paterno never spoke to him about any suspected misconduct with minors, the New York Times reported Saturday.
Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of molesting eight boys over 15 years and is free on bail while awaiting a preliminary hearing on Dec. 13.
Penn State's board of trustees fired Paterno on Nov. 9 because it felt the football coach didn't go far enough in alerting authorities after an assistant coach said he told Paterno he saw Sandusky assaulting a young boy in the football building showers in March 2002.
During a lengthy interview at his lawyer's home, Sandusky told the newspaper he and Paterno never spoke about the alleged 2002 incident or a 1998 child molestation complaint investigated by the Penn State campus police.
"I never talked to him about either one," Sandusky said. "That's all I can say. I mean, I don't know." He worked for Paterno for nearly 30 years.
Sandusky said he never sexually abused any child and that prosecutors have misunderstood his work with children.
"They've taken everything that I ever did for any young person and twisted it to say that my motives were sexual or whatever," Sandusky told the Times. "I had kid after kid after kid who might say I was a father figure. And they just twisted that all."
He is accused of mining the ranks of his Second Mile charity to find underprivileged boys to abuse. Sandusky also said that the charity never restricted his access to children until he became the subject of a criminal investigation in 2008.
He said he regularly gave money to the disadvantaged boys at his charity, opened bank accounts for them and gave them gifts that had been donated to the charity.
"I tried to reward them sometimes with a little money in hand, just so that they could see something," he said. "But more often than not, I tried to set up, maybe get them to save the money, and I put it directly into a savings account established for them."
"I never bought a computer for any kid; I had a computer given to me to give to a kid. I never bought golf clubs. People gave things because they knew there would be kids. They wanted to get rid of things."
Asked about his physical interaction with children who were not his own, Sandusky said that aspect of the relationships "just happened that way."
"I think a lot of the kids really reached out" for wrestling and hugging, he said.
The paper said he grew most animated when talking about his relationships with children and most disconsolate when he spoke of Paterno and Penn State, and the upheaval caused by his indictment.
"I don't think it was fair," he is quoted as saying.
During the interview, Sandusky said his relationships and activities with Second Mile children did cause some strain with Paterno. He told the paper he worried that having some children with him at hotels before games or on the sideline during games, could have been regarded as a distraction by Paterno.
"I would have dreams of we being in a squad meeting and that door fly open and kids come running through chasing one another, and what was I going to do?" he said. "Because, I mean, Joe was serious about football."